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Somerset v Kent: Northeast ton and cool Claydon defy Gayle fireworks

Sunday 31st May 2015

Men’s First Team

Sam Northeast smashed Kent's highest ever T20 score in a record Kent Spitfires total to win by three runs in Taunton despite a spectacular Chris Gayle century for Somerset.

The captain followed his knock of 96 at Beckenham on Friday by reaching three figures in the West Country off 51 balls, hitting 16 boundaries and two sixes to propel Kent to 227 for seven, the club's highest total in the format.

Somerset fell just three runs short despite Gayle's 10 fours and 15 sixes in an unbeaten 151 off 62 balls.

Batting first, Kent lost Joe Denly in the second over, run out by Max Waller with the score on 10-1. After that, Sam Northeast and Daniel Bell-Drummond put on a wonderful exhibition of batting.

Bell-Drummond, who was dropped on 37, by Craig Overton off Max Waller, reached his 50 off 30 balls in the 10th over but was snapped up by Lewis Gregory, off Waller, off the very next ball.

Northeast continued to make hay as Somerset bowled too short and wide. Having led the home attack a merry-dance for the best part of 17 overs, he was one of four batsmen out in the final over as Kent finished on 227-7.

Enter Gayle and company. The West Indian opener saw Marcus Trescothick hole out to cover off Matt Coles the first ball of the fourth over before watching Peter Trego play on, two balls later. At 22-2, Somerset appeared to be staring down the barrel of an inevitable defeat.

Gayle, however, had slightly different ideas and when the Jamiacan struck three giant sixes in eight balls, the hosts were on their way.

James Hildreth, whose form in four-day cricket has been exemplary so far this summer, refused to remain in the shadow of Gayle and played his part in a partnership of 113 in nine overs. However, the locals had come to the County Ground to see Gayle and they left with plenty over which to enthuse.

The left-hander struck five fours and four sixes in reaching 50 off 29 balls and continued to make light of a Kent attack that simply had no answer. He put three balls into the River Tone and as many into the St James' Churchyard.

Hildreth departed in the 13th over, for 29, with Somerset still needing 93 to win and Jim Allenby followed off the second ball of the 16th over with 63 still required.

However, Gayle went through three figures off just 45 balls and kept Somerset in with a chance until the penultimate ball.

A nerveless Mitch Claydon, who bowled the opening over of the innings at the cost of just one run and returned to bowl the 18th and final overs.

His third over cost just two singles with Gayle off strike for all but a ball which he nudged a single to set up a famous win despite Gayle hitting the sixth highest individual score in the history of 20-over cricket.

Click here for the scorecard