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Kent Spitfires fight back to beat Sussex in NatWest T20 Blast opener

Friday 15th May 2015

Men’s First Team

Fantastic fielding and some great death bowling earned Kent Spitfires a nerve-wracking win over Sussex Sharks in the NatWest T20 Blast opener at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.

Mitch Claydon took two wickets in a dramatic 19th over after Matt Coles struck to remove Mahela Jayawardene and Matt Machan in successive overs to help secure a seven-run win in front of the Canterbury crowd.

The Sharks were cruising until Matt Coles struck to remove Sri Lankan batsman Jayawardene, caught on the boundary by Joe Denly, for 39.

Coles had earlier removed opener Chris Nash for 61 when Sussex made a strong start as captain Luke Wright hit 36 from 16 balls at the top of the order, adding 81 in 46 balls for the first wicket.

Spin at both ends from James Tredwell and Fabian Cowdrey did slow the scoring with Tredwell removing Wright before Kent's seamers did the damage.

Chris Cachopa's unbeaten 26 was not enough as Sussex's overseas star Jayawardene holed out off Coles in the 17th over before Coles ran out Matt Machan for 3 in the following over.

With 22 runs needed off 2 overs, Mitch Claydon took two wickets in successive balls: finding the edge of Ben Brown, caught behind by Sam Billings, before Will Beer holed out to Fabian Cowdrey to finish with 2/29 off four overs.

Paceman David Griffiths closed out the final over with a couple of yorkers to seal the victory for the Kent Spitfires.

Claydon was the most economical bowler and his spell won him the Fitzgeralds Jewellers Man of the Match Award.

Kent Spitfires posted 185 for nine after skipper Sam Northeast won the toss and recovered from the early loss of Daniel Bell-Drummond with Denly, Northeast and Billings scoring at more than a run a ball.

Denly, a member of Kent's 2007 Twenty20 Cup winning side, struck 37 from 24 balls to get the innings going with six fours and a six in a 64-run stand with his captain.

Northeast's 29-ball 40 kept the scoring rate high and he was joined by Sam Billings, promoted to four in the order, who improvised a few shots in a 28-ball 46.

Fabian Cowdrey hit five fours in a valuable 24 off 12 balls as Kent's middle order sacrificed personal landmarks to keep the run rate up above nine an over.

Click here for the scorecard