Northeast outshines Henriques as Kent win
Kent 193 for 8 (Northeast 96, Cowdrey 42, Curran 3-31) beat Surrey 170 for 8 (Henriques 63) by 23 runs
A brilliant 96 by Sam Northeast off 47 balls powered Kent to a 23-run win over Surrey in the NatWest T20 Blast South Group local derby at Beckenham.
Northeast, who clubbed seven sixes and five fours, was joined by Fabian Cowdrey in a thunderous fourth-wicket stand of 98 in nine overs as Kent ran up 193 for 8 - their highest T20 score against Surrey. That proved too much for Surrey as they finished on 170 for 8.
Australia allrounder Moises Henriques scored a 47-ball 63 on his Surrey debut and also took 2 for 24 with the ball, but Kent's bowlers were always in control and an asking rate of 13 an over for the last five overs, with half their side out, was too much for the visitors.
Kent's third win in four games puts them back on top of the South Group table and immediately puts behind them a wretched performance against Middlesex at Lord's 24 hours earlier, where they were crushed by 115 runs after being bowled out for 90 inside 15 overs.
Surrey were always up against it after losing both openers Jason Roy and Steven Davies in the first over of their chase.
Roy, having hit Matt Coles for two offside fours from the second and third balls of the innings, was lbw to the fourth and Kumar Sangakkara, anxious to get off the mark, called for a sharp single to square leg and saw Northeast's diving underarm throw score a direct hit on the stumps to run out Davies before he had faced a ball.
Sangakkara pulled sixes off Mitch Claydon and Calum Haggett but his quickfire 34 ended when he skied Darren Stevens to deep mid-off. Henriques, who had pulled Claydon for six early in his innings, launched further maximums off Cowdrey and Stevens over long-off, but Surrey's chances were all but gone by the time he hit Coles straight to Cowdrey at deep cover in the 19th over.
Haggett, despite being hit for six by Henriques in his final over, was the pick of Kent's attack and deservedly picked up the scalp of Azhar Mahmood, just after he had smashed Cowdrey straight for two sixes in the 16th over to keep Surrey's fading hopes alive.
The final over, from Claydon, began with Surrey needing 30 and by then Kent were home and dry.
Kent's innings, which began 20 minutes late due to a heavy shower, was given explosive early impetus by Northeast and Joe Denly following the fall of Daniel Bell-Drummond for 5.
The third over, bowled by Mahmood, disappeared for 24 runs as Northeast lifted a no-ball over midwicket for six and then thumped the ensuing free hit in the same direction for four.
Kent brought up their 50 in the fourth over, but quickly lost two more wickets when Denly and Sam Billings departed as Kent reached the end of the six-over Powerplay on 60 for 3.
Northeast, joined by Cowdrey, immediately revitalised the innings by hitting Gareth Batty's offspin high over midwicket and long on for successive sixes as he sped towards a 22-ball fifty.
Cowdrey warmed to his task with a six and four off the suffering Batty and Kent's hundred arrived in the 10th over when Northeast drove Zafar Ansari's first ball for six. The 150 was raised in the 14th over as the fourth-wicket pair continued to score at a good lick.
Cowdrey finally toe-ended a short wide ball from Henriques to point and Stevens was brilliantly caught by a diving Curran at third man for one as a flurry of Kent wickets fell towards the end.
One of them was acting captain Northeast, who fell just short of his maiden T20 century when he was snared by Curran off the first ball of the final over.