Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Marshall makes light work of tricky conditions

Gloucestershire 146 for 3 (Marshall 56*) beat Kent 144 for 7 (Tye 3-18) by seven wickets

Gloucestershire overcame a tricky pitch and fading light to pull off a deserved seven-wicket NatWest T20 Blast win over Kent with four deliveries to spare.

Having won in Beckenham by nine wickets last season, Gloucestershire served up another spanking in Metropolitan Kent courtesy of an impish half-century from Hamish Marshall.

Responding to Kent's seemingly modest 144 for 7, Gloucestershire's wily openers Michael Klinger and Marshall posted the only half-century stand of the night to ease their side to 54 without loss after the Powerplay.

Klinger, who hit an unbeaten 69 here in last season's corresponding fixture, made a useful 27 but struggled once Kent took pace off the ball, miscuing to long-on against James Tredwell with the score at 66 for 1.

In fast fading light Marshall tucked in to Tredwell to land the first six of the night and keep his side ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis asking rate. He then posted the only 50 of the game from 31 balls with five fours and a six as he visitors continued to make light work of tough task in tricky conditions.

After 14 overs the umpires discussed the gloom and allowed paceman David Griffiths to continue, at which point Ian Cockbain's eyes lit up as he rocked back to launch a glorious cut over the ropes at deep point as the visitors plundered 13 off the over.

Cockbain was caught behind down the leg-side soon after to gift Ivan Thomas a wicket, then with only 13 required to win Marshall, in aiming to work a straight one to leg, was bowled by Darren Stevens for a match-winning 56 from 42 balls with five fours and a six.

With six needed for a Gloucestershire win and with Matt Coles out of the attack due to the bad light, Stevens bowled the final over of the night, but it lasted only two deliveries when Chris Dent launched a straight six for victory.

Spitfires, batting first on a tricky surface at the Worsley Bridge Road Ground, suffered their first casualty in the second over from Liam Norwell who had Joe Denly comfortably pouched at mid-off following a mistimed drive.

Kent countered through in-form opener Daniel Bell-Drummond who plundered four boundaries in Norwell's next over which sparked Gloucestershire's move to introduce spin in the shape of Tom Smith.

In a double switch, Australian IPL seamer Andrew Tye came on at Crystal Palace End and bamboozled Bell-Drummond with only his fourth delivery. As the right-hander aimed to cut hard, he could only sky a top edge to keeper Gareth Roderick to depart for 25 from 21 balls as Kent ended the Powerplay on 41 for 2.

Sam Billings suffered his second poor score since returning from the IPL when he skied to short third man off Benn Howell to go for seven and leave the hosts struggling on 69 for 3 at the innings mid-point.

Kent beneficiary Stevens marched in to up the tempo with a brace of trademark straight-driven boundaries but, in attempting to make room to cut, left his off stump exposed to Tye who duly pegged it back to make it 83 for 4.

Seven runs on Sam Northeast, top-scorer with 35 including at a run-a-ball, became the latest Kent batsman to mistime and send a steepling catch to long-off and give Howell a second scalp.

Spitfires limped into three figures in the 16th over, but even big-hitting Alex Blake and Fabian Cowdrey struggle for timing on a two-paced surface.

Soon after Cowdrey checked his drive against Tye to chip a comfortable catch to wide long-off and Coles was run out of the final ball of the innings leaving Blake unbeaten for an unusually stilted 24 at a run-a-ball.

Tye showed all his experience with an excellent four-over stint of 3 for 18, while Howell ended with 2 for 25 as the hosts failed to clear the ropes and mustered only 11 fours in their innings.

Gloucs 2nd innings Partnerships

1st66M KlingerHJH Marshall
2nd64HJH MarshallIA Cockbain
3rd2HJH MarshallCDJ Dent
4th14BAC HowellCDJ Dent