Guptill century sets up Derbyshire win
Derbyshire 249 for 9 beat Kent 218 by 31 runs
Martin Guptill's first century for Derbyshire set up a 31-run victory over Kent in the Clydesdale Bank 40 match at Derby.
Guptill made 102 off 109 balls and shared a century stand for the fourth wicket with Greg Smith (68) as the Falcons made 249 for 9 despite Azhar Mahmood taking three for three from his last 11 balls.
The Spitfires then slipped to 121 for 6 in reply, and although Darren Stevens put them back in the contest with 65 off 52 balls, Derbyshire held their nerve to dismiss Kent for 218 in the 35th over and keep their challenge in Group A alive.
Guptill had shared an opening stand of 59 in 10 overs with Chesney Hughes but Derbyshire's momentum was checked by the fall of three wickets in six overs. After Hughes (33) mistimed a pull, Wes Durston and Wayne Madsen made only one run between them as the Falcons slipped to 79 for 3.
However, Smith played with controlled aggression from the moment he joined Guptill as the pair put on 129 in 19 overs.
Stevens was pulled for six as Smith moved to a half-century off only 43 balls and with Guptill placing his shots with authority, the home side had the platform to launch an assault in the closing overs.
But Pakistan duo Mahmood and Wahab Riaz responded with some intelligent seam bowling that saw the Falcons score only 23 runs for the loss of five wickets in the last four overs.
The pair were rewarded for bowling full and straight and hit the stumps four times with Riaz capturing the big wicket of New Zealander Guptill, who missed a big drive aiming to add to his 12 fours and one six in the penultimate over.
Mahmood finished with figures of 4 for 57 while Riaz took 3 for 45. Mahmood then helped Sam Billings launch Kent`s chase with some flourishing strokes before he cut Steffan Jones to point in the third over to depart for 10 and Billings (19) missed a drive after cutting Tim Groenewald for six, leaving the visitors on 55 for 2.
Martin van Jaarsveld pulled Jon Clare for six and was threatening to dominate when he was lbw pushing forward at Groenewald for 29 in the 12th over.
When Sam Northeast failed to beat Clare's accurate return and was run out for 12, Kent were stumbling and they were dealt another big blow when Clare (three for 61) returned to the attack in the 21st over.
Geraint Jones was caught behind for six and then Alex Blake went the same way three balls later to leave the Spitfires in trouble on 121 for 6.
Stevens gave them hope with some defiant blows in a 44-ball fifty and was threatening to turn the game when he was lbw to Jones in the 29th over.and although James Tredwell hit 37 off 39 balls, Kent came up short.