Kent 155 for 2 (Bell-Drummond 55*) beat Sussex 154 (Stevens 4-29) by eight wickets
Kent cantered to their second Royal London Cup win of the season after dispatching Group A neighbours Sussex by eight wickets in sunny Canterbury. Having dismissed the visitors for a modest 154, Kent sped to victory with 115 balls remaining courtesy of workmanlike unbeaten 55 from Daniel Bell-Drummond and decent contributions from Joe Denly and Sam Northeast.
Kent, who reached the semi-finals of last season's one-day cup, batted responsibly on a tricky, two-paced pitch to fully deserve their emphatic win. Denly and Bell-Drummond posted 58 for the first wicket before Denly holed out to long-on off the bowling of Chris Liddle, before Northeast also tamely chipped to mid-on against Michael Yardy - but they proved the only successes of a miserable day for the visitors.
Batting first after losing the toss, the Sussex top order never mastered their timing on a pitch that offered some assistance to the Spitfires' seam bowlers. Luke Wright threatened to break free with a couple of consecutive boundaries against Matt Coles, but otherwise Sussex's innings was subdued from start to finish as they succumbed with 5.3 overs of their allocation remaining.
Mitch Claydon started the rout with a sharp one-handed catch to his right after he had bamboozled Chris Nash with a slower ball. Matt Machan departed leg before wicket when he aimed to cut a delivery too close to him, a Claydon offcutter that jagged down the Canterbury slope to glance his back pad.
Wright was bowled by a full-length ball from Coles that pegged back off stump to make it 33 for 3 at the end of the 10-over Powerplay.
Australian batsman George Bailey joined the procession when he drove back a sharp catch to Darren Stevens, who then had Craig Cachopa caught on the ropes at deep midwicket. It was Stevens' 100th wicket in domestic List A games.
On his last appearance at the Spitfire Ground, Yardy went for a sixth-ball duck when he played around a Stevens offcutter then Will Beer nicked to slip to see James Tredwell snaffle a sharp chance at slip.
Top-scorer Ed Joyce, having scored 36 in 100 minutes, fell victim to another stunning Kent catch when his miscued drive against Matt Hunn was superbly caught diving low down, one-handed and on the run by Blake coming in off the deep extra-cover ropes. Oli Robinson blasted a cameo 30 before holing out to mid-on then last man Liddle chopped on against Coles to leave Kent to chase a modest asking rate of 3.5 an over for victory.
Stevens, Man of the Match for his 4 for 29, was comfortably the pick of Kent's attack, while Claydon, Coles and Hunn chipped in with two apiece.
Talking afterwards, Kent opener Denly said: "We clearly had the best of the pitch, so you'd say it was a good toss to win at 10am. As it turned out, it was a bit damp at the start there but our lads up front bowled beautifully on it. We were on it from ball one and put them under pressure.
"Then, chasing a low target, we felt it was right to make a positive start and thankfully Daniel and I managed to do that. Once I got my first couple of boundaries away we felt pretty much in control and took the chance to put a big dent in the target."
Sussex head coach Mark Robinson said: "When you lose the toss and bat on a pitch made damp by early morning dew you need one or two things to happen - to play well, have a bit of luck and for the opposition bowlers to give you a few early gifts. None of that happened for us today.
"Kent bowled well and we didn't have too much fortune. Had we have scratched 240 together we may have had a chance, but it wasn't our day and fair play to Kent."