Kent Spitfires’ Vitality Blast campaign came to a shuddering halt as a defeat by ten runs to the Essex Eagles saw them miss out on a place in the quarter finals.
Zak Crawley had seemingly put Kent in control of the chase of 190 with his exemplary 89 from 55 balls, thrashing his previous T20 best of 59.
But he departed with 40 still needed from four over and the last seven wickets fell in an almost procession-like fashion as Porter defended 16 from the final over.
Essex’s 189, having won the toss and decided to bat, was underpinned by a half-century from Delport and Ravi Bopara’s unbeaten 47.
Having seen five dot balls in his first six deliveries faced, Crawley got the Spitfires’ chase off to a strong start – with back-to-back boundaries off Porter followed-up with a huge six off Adam Zampa.
He lost Daniel Bell-Drummond, caught at mid-wicket, but powered his way to his second fifty of the tournament, from 28 balls.
Faf du Plessis joined Crawley and dispatched Porter and Simon Harmer for sixes during a 63-run stand, before he was caught low down at mid-wicket and Sam Billings skied to cow corner.
Crawley’s swashbuckling was ended on a personal T20 high of 88 when he picked out Harmer at long-off.
With 28 still needed from 16 balls Heino Kuhn was bowled by Bopara, before Ollie Robinson holed out three balls later and Mohammad Amir yorked Blake and Qayyum in successive deliveries.
Porter cleaned up the game with two wickets in his final over heroics to see Essex through.
Delport started with a flurry as he used his levers to power a six down the ground, before following it up with a cut four off Alex Blake’s first over.
But while the South African found boundaries at will, wickets fluttered at the other end – with Tom Westley and Adam Wheater falling in the Powerplay.
Delport received a life when he was put down on 22, but further sixes – off his legs, down the ground, on the sweep and over long on – helped him pass fifty for the third time in the Blast.
But he and Ryan ten Doeschate both fell to part-time medium pace bowler Daniel Bell-Drummond to leave the Eagles 112 for five, and with fears being bowled out.
However, Bopara, who was spilled on 35, continued where he left off against Surrey the previous evening, where he smashed 70 not out, with three fours and a pair of sixes, the last of which rounded off the innings.
Bopara has now scored 116 over two innings without being dismissed, with Paul Walter and Harmer playing useful cameos at the other end.
Credit: ECB Reporters’ Network