Jones & Stevens power Kent win
Kent 170 for 4 beat Essex 167 for 9 by six wickets
A 69-run partnership between Darren Stevens and Geraint Jones powered Kent to a six-wicket victory over Essex at Chelmsford. Despite Ryan ten Doeschate's 98, which carried Essex to a total of 167 for 9, the visitors reached their target with eight balls to spare, Stevens rushing them to victory as he cut loose in Graham Napier's final over.
He plundered 18 from five deliveries, the fourth of which was a no-ball that he despatched for six. Stevens finished unbeaten with 49 from 28 balls and struck three sixes and three fours. He put together a match-winning fourth-wicket partnership with Jones, whose 54 contained six fours and two sixes and arrived from 34 deliveries.
Jones did receive a huge slice of luck when, with his score on 11, Matt Walker put down a straightforward catch in the covers. But he made the most of the chance to help seal a victory that looked a certainty when left-arm spinner Tim Phillips conceded 27 in his only over, the 14th of the innings, as Kent raced to 118 for 3.
Earlier, Essex were indebted to an explosive knock from ten Doeschate. He smashed 98 from only 47 balls before he was run out going for a second run in the final over of the innings. His career-best effort in English domestic Twenty20s came after Stevens had accounted for openers Mark Pettini and Ravi Bopara in the very first over.
And when Simon Cook picked up the wickets of Napier and Grant Flower with only 24 on the board in the fifth over, Essex were struggling. But Ten Doeschate was to win back the initiative with a thrilling display of clean hitting that brought him seven sixes, four of them off Malinga Bandara in the spinner's first two overs.
He also helped himself to nine fours but in the end his fireworks were not enough to deny Kent victory. Cook was by far the most impressive of the Kent bowlers, his two wickets costing a miserly 15 runs in four accurate overs. Essex went into action without Pakistan legspinner, Danish Kaneria, who was reported to be unwell.