Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Gloucestershire seamers gun down Spitfires

Jack Taylor celebrates after his direct hit put an end to Alex Blake's innings Getty Images

Gloucestershire 131 for 5 beat Kent 125 for 8 (Bell-Drummond 62) by five wickets

Kent Spitfires suffered a jolt to their previously excellent Vitality Blast South Group campaign with a five-wicket defeat by Gloucestershire at the Bristol County Ground.

The visitors could post only 125 for 8 after losing the toss on a slow pitch, Daniel Bell-Drummond contributing almost half the runs with 62. There were two wickets each for David Payne, Chris Liddle and Andrew Tye.

In reply, Gloucestershire reached 131 for 5, winning with 7 balls to spare, Jack Taylor and Benny Howell seeing them home. Fred Klaassen claimed 2 for 15 and Hardus Viljoen 2 for 30.

"It was an important toss to win because Kent didn't know what a good score would be on that pitch and 125 wasn't enough," said Howell.

"It was tough to hit through the line on that wicket, but we knew that if we kept the required run-rate under control, which wasn't too difficult, we could reach our target."

Kent scored only 33 from their six-over powerplay, losing Zak Crawley for a first-ball duck, caught at midwicket off the fifth delivery of the match from Payne and Ollie Robinson, who holed out to deep midwicket in the fourth over, bowled by Liddle.

Several other balls in the air just eluded fielders as the Spitfires batsmen, Bell-Drummond apart, failed to come to terms with deliveries sticking in the pitch.

Gloucestershire employed their familiar tactics of taking pace off the ball in the middle overs through Benny Howell's bag of tricks and the left-arm spin of Tom Smith. Together they ensured the halfway point was reached with Kent becalmed on 51 for two.

Heino Kuhn broke the shackles with a swept six off Smith. But when he attempted to hit Howell over wide long-on he only found the safe hands of Tye and departed for 23.

Mohammad Nabi, on three, was next to loft a catch, Michael Klinger brilliantly accepting the chance off Liddle, running away from the pitch as the skied ball came over his shoulder at midwicket.

Gloucestershire's excellent fielding continued when Jack Taylor ran out Alex Blake for two with a direct hit sprinting in from deep cover as the batsmen attempted a second run.

Only Bell-Drummond showed the necessary degree of patience, moving to 50 off 48 balls, with four fours. But wickets continued to tumble at the other end and when he fell to Tye in the final over the Spitfires' total looked well below par.

Soon Gloucestershire's batsmen were having their own problems with the pitch, Miles Hammond and Klinger, who could make only five, falling attempting boundaries in the powerplay, which ended at 42 for 2.

There was no pressure to play big shots. But James Bracey perished to one, caught at cover for 22 off Nabi, who came on for the seventh over.

At 58 for 3 in the ninth over, Gloucestershire had to exercise a degree of caution. That became even more the case when Ian Cockbain, on 15, picked out cover with a mistimed shot off Fred Klaassen to make it 73 for four.

Ryan Higgins lofted only the game's second six over deep square off Hardus Viljoen and Taylor followed suit with a big hit over cow corner from Nabi's last ball, which saw him finish with one for 26.

Higgins then drove a catch to mid-off to give Viljoen his second wicket. But Kent simply did not have enough runs to defend and three Howell boundaries in succession off the 17th over, sent down by Milne, ended any doubt about the outcome.

Howell then ended the game with a six and claimed the man-of-the-match award.

Gloucs 2nd innings Partnerships

1st23M KlingerMAH Hammond
2nd15M KlingerJR Bracey
3rd20IA CockbainJR Bracey
4th15IA CockbainRF Higgins
5th23JMR TaylorRF Higgins
6th35BAC HowellJMR Taylor