Surrey earn home tie despite poor chase
Kent 175 for 7 (Stevens 67, Mahmood 3-43) beat Surrey 154 for 7 (Dilshan 46, Claydon 2-27) by 21 runs
Kent overwhelmed Surrey for the second time inside 48 hours with a comfortable 21-run victory from their final NatWest T20 Blast fixture of the campaign at Canterbury.
Fresh from Thursday's County Championship win over their near neighbours at Guildford, Kent fully deserved a sixth South Division win from 14 starts but without threatening to secure a place in the knock-out stages.
Surrey, in pursuit of Kent's testing total of 175 for 7 at a demanding rate of 8.8 an over, at least made the 78 runs they required to secure a home tie in the last eight, but otherwise this was a run chase the Londoners will quickly want to forget.
They had made a brisk start through Tillakaratne Dilshan and Steven Davies, who left the blocks scoring at 10 runs an over. Davies, a late inclusion after Jason Roy tweaked a quad muscle in the warm-up, miscued to mid-off to go for 20 and Dilshan, the Sri Lanka veteran, should have gone for 44 when he danced down against Darren Stevens only for Sam Billings to miss a regulation stumping.
Stevens had his man two runs later from a sliced drive to short third man that left Surrey in decent shape at 95 for 2 just past the mid-point of the reply. Skipper Gary Wilson then joined forces with England discard Kevin Pietersen to add 29, but with an asking rate in excess of 11 and with only five overs remaining, something had to give.
In attempting to deposit one from James Tredwell over the Frank Woolley Stand, Pietersen, on 32, miscued lamely to mid-on then Mitch Claydon took two wickets in as many deliveries to leave Surrey reeling. The Aussie yorkered Azhar Mahmood then, from his next delivery, had Rory Burns spectacularly caught at backward square leg to make it 125 for 5.
Wilson survived the hat-trick ball, but three runs and four balls later, Robin Petersen was run out attempting a suicidal leg-bye as Surrey's response ended in disarray.
Batting first after winning the toss, Kent skipper Rob Key hit three successive fours off former team-mate Mahmood only to spoon the fourth to cover point and go for 14.
With two against his name, Sam Northeast was stumped by a country mile off Dilshan, but Daniel Bell-Drummond upped the run-rate with a four off the same bowler, then a pulled six over long leg from George Edwards' second ball of the night.
Dilshan had his revenge in his next over when Bell-Drummond, in aiming to work to leg, skied to point off a leading edge for 17 then Fabian Cowdrey, in attempting to clear the ropes over cow corner, picked out Zafar Anzari. That brought Kent's most experienced Twenty20 batsman Stevens to the crease for a short, but mesmerising stay.
Stevens quickly targeted Ansari's spin, depositing one over the long-on boundary and off down the Nackington Road via the roof of a temporary bar positioned near Canterbury's lime tree. Stevens cracked four more sixes with a replacement ball, two of them consecutively against Batty, to move to a 33-ball 50 as he and Alex Blake added 90 in eight overs before their fun ended.
Stevens took his tally of sixes to seven with two more off Mahmood but, in aiming for another maximum, he found Pietersen at long-on to go for a thrilling 67 of 38 balls.
Blake took up the baton, pulling Stuart Meaker for six but he perished in the final over for 45 to a good boundary catch by Davies at long-on that gave Mahmood flattering figures of 3 for 43 in a Kent total of 176 for 7.