Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Bell-Drummond, Denly set record in Kent opening-night win

Kent 200 for 2 (Bell-Drummond 83*, Denly 75) beat Somerset 197 for 7 (Allenby 91, Trego 57, Cowdrey 3-18) by eight wickets

Kent Spitfires launched their NatWest T20 Blast campaign in style by romping to an eight-wicket win over Somerset in Canterbury.

Last season's quarter-finalists made light work of the run chase as they pursued Somerset's spanking 197 for 7 to land victory with 16 balls to spare.

The hosts were given a stunning start to their innings by in-form Daniel Bell-Drummond and Joe Denly, who posted 150 for the first wicket in 12.3 overs - a Kent record T20 partnership for any wicket against any county.

Kent spinner Fabian Cowdrey, who finished with 3 for 18 including the vital scalp of Peter Trego, said the victory should send shockwaves through the group.

"We didn't have either of our overseas players tonight yet we knocked off 200 to win comfortably," he said. "It was an incredible win and I hope people start to take us seriously now. Either way, we'll keep playing without fear and putting results on the board."

In front of a 5,000 crowd at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Kent's openers dismantled the Somerset attack with boundaries to all parts of the ground.

Bell-Drummond, the England Lions' batsman who is approaching 600 first-class runs for the season already, led the way with an unbeaten 83 off 47 balls. He hit 10 fours and a brace of sixes.

Having taken 22 off one over from former Kent seamer Yasir Arafat, Bell-Drummond was dropped in the deep on 34, but never looked back thereafter, taking the man-of-the-match award after clubbing the winning boundary.

Denly, fresh from a first-class, career-best 206* against Northamptonshire this week, holed out for an excellent 75 from 38 balls, then Kent skipper Sam Northeast (27) edged to short third man with the finishing line in sight, but Bell-Drummond saw Spitfires home.

Batting first after winning the toss Somerset made a mixed start. They lost Johann Myburgh (5) to the seventh ball of the match when he tamely drove the first ball of the second over, from David Griffiths to Darren Stevens at mid-off.

The dismissal bought together former Kent all-rounder Peter Trego and his skipper Jim Allenby, who combined to set the tempo for the visitor's innings with a second-wicket stand of 134 inside 12 overs.

Allenby took three successive boundaries off Matt Coles while Trego heaved a leg-side six off James Tredwell that pitched into the building site that by next summer will be retirement flats - Canterbury's OAP's may well be in the firing line come June 2017.

Somerset reached 53 for 1 at the end of the six powerplay overs and by the first ball of the 11th over Allenby and Trego had raised a century stand with an Allenby six over long-on off Stevens.

Allenby raised his 50 from 32 balls, while Trego reached the milestone off only 26 deliveries at which point the West Country County looked set fair for a score in excess of 220.

It was the introduction of Cowdrey, the loopy left-arm spinner, that changed the course of the night. With his uncle Graham, the former Kent batsman and ECB cricket liaison officer watching from the stands, the 23-year-old produced a golden-arm spell.

Cowdrey had Trego (57), Ryan Davies (5) and Jamie Overton (9) all caught in the deep while, at the other end, Coles accounted for Leask (8) to a catch at long-on.

Kent's attack bowled superbly at the death as Griffiths cleaned up Roelof van der Merwe (9) and Claydon denied Allenby (91) his ton by pegging back off stump with a full ball via the toe-end of the bat.

The Somerset skipper faced 59 balls, hit 10 fours and three sixes, but his efforts proved inadequate and all in vain as Kent romped home.

Kent's team plans had been thrown into disarray at the start of the night when New Zealand top-order bat Tom Latham - who was also due to keep wicket - strained his ankle during the warm-ups and pulled out to be replaced by Adam Rouse.

Kent 2nd innings Partnerships

1st150JL DenlyDJ Bell-Drummond
2nd36SA NortheastDJ Bell-Drummond
3rd14DI StevensDJ Bell-Drummond