Hildreth sets up massive win
Somerset 189 for 4 beat Kent 105 by 84 runs
Somerset maintained the pressure on Friends Provident t20 South Group leaders Sussex by coasting to an emphatic fourth win of the campaign by 84 runs with nine balls to spare over Kent in Beckenham. In a repeat of last season's semi-final, the Sabres rattled up an impressive 189 built around an unbeaten 77 from Man of the Match James Hildreth and Jos Butler's 48 not out.
The visitors defended their total strongly as local lad Ben Phillips came back to taunt his former club with 2 for 24. Somerset, having been invited to bat, sprinted to 32 inside four overs only to lose captain Marcus Trescothick for 12 after he pulled a slow-ball bouncer from Azhar Mahmood into the hands of Alex Blake at deep midwicket.
Nick Compton (24) looked comfortable in helping double the total until a stunning overhead stop and rapid throw to the wicketkeeper by Martin van Jaarsveld at cover left him short of his ground and run out.
Third wicket pair Hildreth and Zander de Bruyn (nine) posted the Sabres' 100 in the 13th over, but in the same over De Bruyn miscued an attempted pull shot to short midwicket where Malinga Bandara accepted a good, low chance. In the following over Bandara bamboozled Kieron Pollard (one) with a googly that beat his defensive push and brushed off stump to make it 109 for 4.
Unhindered by the losses, Hildreth charged on to a 43-ball 50 and batted through to reach a competition best 77 from 55 balls with 13 fours. He found a willing ally in teenage right-hander Butler, who even out-foxed the wily Mahmood during a cameo 48 from 22 balls as the fifth-wicket pair added 80 in 6.2 overs.
The former England Under-19 finished the innings in style, hoisting the final delivery of the innings for six in an expensive last over from Bandara that cost 17.
Kent announced their intentions early when Rob Key launched a six into the crowd over square leg, but within 21 balls both he and opening partner Van Jaarsveld (six) were back in the pavilion. Van Jaarsveld drove to mid-off then Key, on nine, miscued a heave to leg high to De Bruyn at long-on off Phillips who, having seen Blake hook a six to long leg, sent down another short one that the left-hander edged high to Buttler.
Pollard then replaced Phillips at the North End to take two key wickets in his first over. Geraint Jones (25) uppercut a short one to Phillips patrolling the ropes at deep cover then in-form Darren Stevens (six) lofted a slower ball to cover and marched off - Kent's slender chances of victory went with him.
Alfonso Thomas, with 3 for 15, and Pollard who finished with 4 for 15, duly ran through the Kent tail as the hosts lost their last five wickets for 13 runs.