van der Merwe powers Somerset
Somerset 166 for 1 beat Kent 163 for 8 by nine wickets
A career-best 89 not out by South African allrounder Roelof van der Merwe coupled with an unbeaten half-century from Marcus Trescothick allowed Somerset to open their Friends Life t20 win account at the expense of hosts Kent.
Set to chase a Spitfires total of 163 for 8, Somerset made the most of some charitable Kent bowling and short boundaries at The Nevill Ground in Tunbridge Wells to secure their nine-wicket victory with 18 balls to spare.
After the early loss of former Kent allrounder Peter Trego, bowled by Spitfires debutant Charl Langeveldt for six, Somerset cantered to the win line with an unbroken second-wicket stand of 150 in 15 overs.
The diminutive Van der Merwe led the charge with a powerhouse unbeaten innings from 51 balls, with seven fours and six sixes, for his first t20 half-century in only his second start for the Sabres. Four of his sixes came off the bowling of England off-spinner James Tredwell, whose two wicketless overs ultimately cost 33 runs.
Trescothick also reached the milestone from 30 balls, with eight fours and a six. In the process the left-hander also reached 1,500 career runs in t20 cricket as last year's beaten finalists chalked up a comfortable first win of the 2011 campaign.
The Spitfires made a dreadful start to their innings in front of a sell-out 5,000 crowd by losing their first three wickets for 32 runs inside the opening 27 balls of the game. Joe Denly, fresh from scoring over 200 runs here in the four-day game against Leicestershire, nicked a drive to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler to go for 7, then Matt Coles was yorked by Steve Kirby to make it 23 for 2.
Vice-captain Martin van Jaarsveld then pulled a Lewis Gregory bouncer down the throat of Arul Suppiah at long leg, forcing Kent into a rethink and a rebuilding programme. Gregory, the pick of Somerset's attack, finished with 3 for 26.
Captain Rob Key and Darren Stevens began the rescue work with a fourth-wicket stand of 80 in 9.4 overs that ensured the Spitfires at least batted out their 20-over allocation. Seven short of his fifty, Key heaved across the line to be bowled by Suppiah but Stevens charged on to hit a brace of sixes in his 32-ball half-century and two more in his total of 68 from 41 deliveries, which ended when he looked to flick Alfonso Thomas to leg but saw his off stump pegged back.
Azhar Mahmood and Geraint Jones went for single figures then Adam Ball had his off stump plucked out for a golden duck as Kent's late bid for quick runs came unstuck and left them with at least 30 too few to defend.