Kent keep semi hopes alive
Kent 185 for 4 beat Leicestershire 182 by six wickets
Kent kept alive their hopes of reaching the Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-finals with a comfortable victory over Leicestershire in their Group C clash at Grace Road. After dismissing the Foxes for 182 in 38.1 overs the Spitfires cruised to their target with little trouble to clinch a six-wicket win with 6.4 overs to spare.
Openers Joe Denly and Robert Key provided the platform for the victory with a stand of 86 in the first 15 overs. Then, after a mini collapse when four wickets fell for 36 runs, Darren Stevens and Alex Blake steered Kent home with an unbeaten stand of 73.
The Foxes, who have not won at home in the competition since beating Nottinghamshire in their first match in April, fell away badly after making a solid start to their innings. Put in to bat they raced to 52 for 1 in the eight overs of Powerplay with James Benning and Jacques Du Toit sharing a stand of 44 before Benning was bowled by a well disguised slower ball from Matthew Coles.
But the run out of Du Toit for 25 six overs later triggered a collapse which saw four wickets crash for 10 runs in four overs, leaving the Foxes struggling at 81 for 5. The innings was given some much needed backbone by Matthew Boyce and Tom New who joined forces in a sixth-wicket partnership of 79 in 16 overs.
The two left-handers played sensibly but took their opportunities to pick up boundaries off anything off line or loose. But the stand was finally broken by some clever bowling from leg spinner Malinga Bandara who had Boyce smartly stumped by Geraint Jones as he stretched forward having made 41 off 58 balls.
Although New continued to defy the Kent attack with an unbeaten 47 the innings folded alarmingly with the last three wickets falling 11 runs in 13 balls with the Foxes unable to bat through the full 40 overs. Coles finished with 3 for 27 and there was two wickets apiece for Bandara and Simon Cook.
Denly and Key gave the Spitfires a flying start with a succession of boundaries. Denly hit five fours and a six in a knock of 40 and Key hit seven boundaries before being trapped lbw by Matthew Hoggard for 45.
Then Stevens and Blake ensured Kent stayed in the hunt for a semi-final place with a brisk sixth-wicket stand, Stevens hitting the winning boundary off Alex Wyatt to finish with 42 not out. Blake was 41 not out off 40 balls having hit six fours and a six.
One unusual note from the match was that there was not a single catch in a game in which a total of 14 wickets fell.