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Kent Spitfires v Sussex Sharks: Stevens spell sets up 8-wicket win

Kent Spitfires cruised to a eight-wicket Royal London One-Day Cup win against neighbours Sussex Sharks in a sunny start to the 164th Canterbury Week.

Darren Stevens took 4/29 in ten tidy overs as Kent dismissed the visitors for a modest 154 before speeding to victory with 115 balls to spare.

Fresh from signing a contract extension with the club, Daniel Bell-Drummond scored an unbeaten 55 off 78 balls, supported by contributions from Joe Denly and Sam Northeast.

Kent, who reached the semi-finals of last season’s tournament, batted responsibly in chasing down the target to record an emphatic win.

Denly and Bell-Drummond posted 58 for the first wicket before Denly holed out to long-on off the bowling of Chris Liddle for 48 off just 34 balls.

Skipper Northeast chipped to mid-on against Michael Yardy, but they proved the only successes of a miserable day for the visitors.

Batting first after losing the toss, the Sussex top order never mastered their timing on a pitch that offered some assistance to the Spitfires seam attack.

Luke Wright threatened to break free with a couple of consecutive boundaries against Matt Coles, but otherwise theirs was a subdued innings from start to finish as they succumbed with 5.3 overs of their allocation remaining.

Mitch Claydon started the rout with a sharp one-handed catch after he had bamboozled Chris Nash (7) with a slower ball.

Matt Machan (4) departed leg before when he aimed to cut one too close to him, a Claydon off-cutter that jagged down the Canterbury slope to glance his back pad.

Wright (17) was bowled neck and crop by a full length ball from Coles that pegged back off stump to make it 33 for three at te end of the 10-over powerplay.

Australian batsman George Bailey (5) joined the procession when he drove back a sharp catch to Darren Stevens, who then had Craig Cachopra (13) caught on the ropes at deep midwicket. It was Stevens’ 100th wicket in domestic List A games.

On his last appearance at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence. Yardy went for a sixth-ball duck when he played around a Stevens off-cutter then Will Beer (14) nicked to slip to see James Tredwell snaffle a sharp chance at slip.

Top-scorer Ed Joyce, having scored 36 in 100 minutes, fell victim to another stunning Kentish catch when his miscued drive against Matt Hunn was superbly caught diving low down, one-handed and on the run by Blake coming in off the deep extra-cover ropes.

Oliver Robinson blasted a cameo 30 against his native county before holing out to mid-on then last man Liddle (2) chopped on against Coles to leave Kent to chase a modest asking rate of 3.5 an over for victory.

Man-of-the-match Stevens was comfortably the pick of Kent’s attack, while Claydon, Coles and Hunn chipped in with two apiece.

Talking afterwards, Kent opener Denly said: “We clearly had the best of the pitch, so you’d say it was a good toss to win at 10am. When I turned up this morning it looked a belter, but what do I know.

“As it turned out, it was a bit damp at the start there but our lads up front bowled beautifully on it. We were on it from ball one and put them under pressure from the off.

“Then, chasing a low target, we felt it was right to make a positive start and thankfully Daniel and I managed to do that. Once I got my first couple of boundaries away we fel pretty much in control and took the chance to put a big dent in the target.”

Click here for the scorecard