Kent v Hampshire, Royal London Cup, Group B, Canterbury July 30, 2015

Bell-Drummond and Denly seal emphatic win


Kent 236 for 5 (Bell-Drummond 80*, Denly 78) beat Hampshire 233 (Carberry 61, Cowdrey 3-32) by five wickets

Daniel Bell-Drummond eased Kent to victory at Canterbury © Getty Images

Last season's semi-finalists Kent opened their account in this year's Royal London Cup with an emphatic five-wicket victory over Hampshire with seven overs to spare in Canterbury.

In a game bossed by Kent opening batsmen past and present, it was Daniel Bell-Drummond with an unbeaten 80 who decided the outcome after Hampshire had been given a flying start with 61 off 50 balls from Michael Carberry, who left the county in 2005.

It was Carberry's downfall to a miscued pull to mid-on - having plundered 48 of his runs in boundaries - that led to a gradual Hampshire demise as Kent took a grip on events thereafter.

Kent batted first after winning the toss, and Carberry bossed the strike from ball one to pull sixes off the bowling of Mitch Claydon and Matt Coles.

By the time Carberry had posted a 43-ball fifty, his opening partner, Jimmy Adams, had managed only three runs but faced only six deliveries in the opening eight overs.

After Carberry's top-edge dismissal against Darren Stevens, Kent started to exact control on the game through Stevens and off-spinner James Tredwell, then left arm-spinner Fabian Cowdrey, who bagged three for 32 to knock the stuffing out of Hampshire's middle order.

Tredwell had Adam Wheater (13) caught in the deep and Stevens pegged back the leg stump of James Vince after the Hampshire skipper edged an attempted push drive.

Cowdrey came to the party by having Joe Gatting (11) caught at cow corner, while Adams, having scored 47 in almost two hours, miscued to be caught low down by Matt Coles at deep mid-wicket.

Hampshire added to their demise with two self-inflicted run-outs of Liam Dawson and Gareth Berg which exposed the tail to the wiles of Claydon, whose late burst accounted for Yasir Arafat and Fidel Edwards as Hampshire succumbed for 233 with 13 balls of their innings still remaining.

Having witnessed Hampshire's frenetic start, Kent's reply was all the more measured as Joe Denly and Bell-Drummond picked off anything loose while leaving alone anything remotely risky.

The ploy paid dividends as both batters cruised to effortless fifties and it came as something of a shock when Denly, on 78 from 79 balls, clipped a return catch to Edwards to make it 131 for 1.

Though Sam Northeast, Sam Billings and Cowdrey all fell cheaply, it barely dented Kent's match to victory as Bell-Drummond's assured innings, together with cameos from Stevens (21) and Alex Blake (34 not out) helped ease Kent over the win line with 42 balls to spare.

Northeast, Kent's winning skipper, said: "I thought they would get 300-plus when Carbs got them off to a flyer, but we did really well to claw it back thereafter.

"Michael showed his England class out there and sometimes, on a pitch like that, he's almost unstoppable, but Stevo got him with a slower ball and it proved a massive wicket for us."

Northeast added: "If we can get the first powerplay right, do things better up top than we did today, then we can be a proper side in this format. The guys did so well to drag us back into things.

"The run chase went fairly smoothly thanks to Danny, who again showed how his one-day game is maturing when opening up alongside an experienced campaigner like Joe. Those two laid the foundations and made life pretty comfortable for the rest of us."