Allround Kent too strong for Gloucestershire
Kent 217 beat Gloucestershire 181 by 36 runs
Kent cruised to a 36-run Friends Provident t20 victory over Gloucestershire at Gloucester after posting an imposing 217 all out - their highest Twenty20 score.
The Spitfires made the most of the short boundaries at Archdeacon Meadow to hammer the highest score in the South Division this season, with Rob Key (44), Joe Denly (48) and Alex Blake (33) the main contributors. Will Porterfield's bright 43 gave Gloucestershire hope, but they collapsed from 62 for 1 to 94 for 6 as Simon Cook took three wickets for 22 runs. The hosts were eventually bowled out for 181, despite Chris Taylor's defiant 67 off 36 balls.
Kent were given the perfect start by Key and Denly, who plundered 65 off the six-over powerplay against bowling that erred on the short side. There were 87 runs on the board in the ninth over when Key was bowled off stump attempting to pull a James Franklin delivery.
The Spitfires skipper had hit eight fours in facing 25 balls, but Denly lost nothing by comparison and had smacked seven fours and a six when he was stumped advancing to drive the part-time off-spin of Kadeer Ali. By then it was 101 for 2 and Kent were going along at more than 10 an over. Martin van Jaarsveld added a breezy 26, but the most impressive hitting of their innings came from 21-year-old Blake, who twice profited from missed stumpings by Steve Snell.
The left-hander blasted four sixes in his 17-ball innings, one of them cut over point off Jon Lewis, before being yorked by Franklin. At 168 for 5 in the 15th over, Kent looked capable of an even bigger score. But a brilliant boundary catch by Hamish Marshall and a couple of run-outs prevented them becoming the highest scorers in the competition this season.
Gloucestershire overcame the early loss of Franklin to score 58 from their powerplay overs. But Cook then instigated a collapse and, although Taylor reached a half-century with two sixes in an over from Matt Coles, Kent always had things under control.Ian Butler also used the long handle to good effect in his 28, but the Gladiators needed 86 off the last five overs and, for all Taylor's heroics in hitting four sixes and six fours, it proved too much.