Kent keep last-four hopes alive

Tuesday 31st July 2012

Men’s First Team

Kent keep last-four hopes alive

Kent Spitfires kept their Clydesdale Bank 40 campaign alive with a nine-wicket Group C victory over Derbyshire Falcons at Derby.

The floodlit match was delayed by nearly four hours by rain, reducing the contest to 14 overs a side, but after Derbyshire made 62 for five, Kent were left with a target of 67 and got home with 19 balls to spare.

Rob Key fell to Mark Turner for 17 but Sam Billings (28) and Sam Northeast (22 not out) easily took the Spitfires to a victory that gives them a chance of claiming the best runners-up spot.

The Falcons had reached 22 without loss after being put in but there was assistance for the seamers on an overcast evening and it was no surprise when Chesney Hughes edged a drive at one from Matt Coles that moved away and was caught behind for 11.

Usman Khawaja went in the next over when he chopped Azhar Mahmood into his leg stump and Wes Durston became the third batsman to fall for 11 when he was caught behind pushing forward at Darren Stevens.

Falcons skipper Wayne Madsen became Stevens' second victim when he was bowled through a big gap with the total on 46 but that was the last action for nearly three-and-three-quarter hours as the rain set in.

The game was able to resume at 9.15pm with the Falcons left with one over to boost their total and after Dan Redfern was run out off the first ball going for a second, Jon Clare hit James Tredwell high over mid-wicket for six.

He then swung the spinner for another four and finished unbeaten having joined the massed ranks on 11.

Alex Hughes clubbed another boundary as 16 came off the over to leave the Spitfires chasing a revised target of 67 but the advantage was still very much with the visitors, especially with the Falcons' bowlers having to contend with a wet ball.

Billings and Key knew they did not have to take any risks but 23 came off the first three overs to dash the slim hopes of the home side, who had to take early wickets to exert any pressure.

Key pulled Mark Turner for his third four but was then caught behind down the legside off the next ball for 17 with the total on 39.

But Kent needed only 24 off the last seven overs and although Derbyshire bowled tightly, the outcome was never in doubt.

Northeast sealed victory in the 11th over with consecutive fours off David Wainwright to give Kent a chance of making the semi-finals.

Click here for the scorecard

Kent Cricket are offering the ladies of Kentan opportunity to enjoy a dinner date with Sam Billings, Sam Northeast or one of five other Kent Cricketers – click here for full details of the Kent Cricket Blind Date

Photo Sarah Ansell