Blake, Tredwell keep Kent alive
Kent 149 for 9 (Blake 53, Beer 3-18) beat Sussex 146 for 9 (Jordan 37, Harmison 3-35) by three runs
Disappointment can often be a good motivator and in a week when he lost his Test spot, Chris Jordan almost managed to haul Sussex across the line in the T20 Blast. If truth be told, it was a bitty showing from Jordan and embodied a slapdash performance from Sussex as their faint hopes of T20 Blast progression ended.
If Jordan had hoped for a competent homecoming on the back of his England omission, Kent were in no mood to bestow him handouts. The name on the back of the shirt counts for little on the county circuit and although his 37 brought Sussex to within a blow of victory, a couple of overzealous overs proved decisive and irreparable.
Straying onto the leg side more often or not, he was picked off with ease and when he returned in the 17th over of Kent's stodgy innings, the subsequent six deliveries changed the dynamic of the game.
His additional zip gave Ben Brown, the Sussex wicketkeeper, little chance with a steep bouncer that proved too quick for anyone and then Alex Blake tucked into successive sixes, who scored an unbeaten fifty, one of which came off a no-ball to lift Kent towards a target that had looked improbable when they slouched to 77 for 6; 38 came off Jordan's three overs.
In the end, their 149 for 9 was just enough despite Jordan's late hitting. Requiring 17 off the final over, a towering blow over long-off kept the Hove crowd on the edge of their seats before he could only pick out the fielder with a couple of deliveries remaining. His, and indeed Sussex's, race was run.
Kent, however, still harbour hopes of progression. Having gone six games without a victory in the South Group, few would have given them a sniff as they toiled on a slow surface. Will Beer, predominately deployed in the shortest-format, wreaked havoc with a competent display of leg spin as the top-order subsided with little fight, Daniel Bell Drummond - who underpinned the Powerplay overs with 34 - apart.
Fabian Cowdrey missed a straight one from Beer before Stefan Piolet took all the pace off to outwit Darren Stevens next over. That only provided the platform for Blake. A well-organised left-hander, he batted without any inhibitions on a track that required a clear mind and convincing strokes. He struck five sixes, including the two off Jordan that gave Kent the impetus, to give his bowlers something to defend. Beer, who finished with career best figures of 3 for 18, was unable to put his feet up.
Much like Kent's batting order, the hosts flopped in the face of the battery of slower bowlers Rob Key had little hesitation in deploying. Such are the idiosyncrasies of the loan system that James Tredwell, who was in the home dressing room during the week, played a major part in foiling his part-time team-mates.
He nonchalantly had Yasir Arafat caught and bowled, just as the game threatened to swing back in Sussex's favour, before cold water was poured over Jordan's fireworks.