Stevens keeps Kent in promotion hunt

Kent 350 for 8 dec (Nash 119, Key 68, Taylor 5-91) and 103 for 2 dec beat Leicestershire 171 for 3 dec (Boyce 78*) and 135 (Stevens 5-35) by 147 runs

Darren Stevens took five wickets for 35 runs against his former club as Kent kept their promotion hopes alive with a resounding 147-run victory over Leicestershire. Kent set Leicestershire a target of 283 in 68 overs, but 36-year-old Stevens sent the Foxes tumbling to defeat in a devastating 14-over spell.

Mark Davies claimed three wickets and Charlie Shreck two as Kent closed the gap on leaders Derbyshire to stay in contention for promotion with two games to play. Kent, who picked up 21 points from the win, are at home to Derbyshire next week and then away to Glamorgan in the final fixture of the season.

There was a bizarre start to the day with the Leicestershire batsmen Matt Boyce and Josh Cobb facing just one ball before skipper Matthew Hoggard declared still 179 runs behind. It was clear an agreement had been reached on a runs chase, and Kent responded by closing their second innings at 103 for 2 off 22 overs - setting Leicestershire a target of 283 in 68 overs.

On a pitch still giving some assistance to the bowlers it looked a tough challenge for the hosts, and they could not have made a worse start. Davies had Michael Thornely caught behind in the third over and Shreck removed Will Jones in similar fashion in the next, leaving the hosts at 7 for 2.

A grim situation did not improve when Ned Eckersley was brilliantly caught at cover by Matt Coles off Davies with the total 17. But if Leicestershire thought things could not get any worse they were wrong. Stevens was brought into the attack and his naggingly accurate medium-paced seamers ripped through the hosts' middle order.

In a nine-over spell before tea he picked up four wickets for 27 runs. Stevens trapped Cobb lbw with a delivery that nipped back, had Shiv Thakor caught low down at slip, uprooted Wayne White's off stump and then ended some stubborn resistance from Boyce, who made 23 off 80 balls before being caught at midwicket.

Stevens struck again in the first over after tea with Rob Taylor becoming another lbw victim. Jigar Naik provided some late resistance, top scoring with 33 before falling leg before wicket to Davies and Shreck clinched victory by having Alex Wyatt caught at short leg.

Leics 4th innings Partnerships

1st7MA ThornelyWS Jones
2nd0EJH EckersleyWS Jones
3rd6MAG BoyceEJH Eckersley
4th35MAG BoyceJJ Cobb
5th30MAG BoyceSJ Thakor
6th5MAG BoyceWA White
7th5JKH NaikMAG Boyce
8th6JKH NaikRML Taylor
9th38MJ HoggardJKH Naik
10th3MJ HoggardACF Wyatt