Kent 231 for 5 (Denly 105, Bell-Drummond 91, Wheal 4-38) beat Hampshire 229 (Wheater 63, Coles 6-56) by five wickets
Daniel Bell-Drummond and Joe Denly set Kent on their way to a five-wicket win over Hampshire in the Royal London Cup to boost their quarter-final hopes. Matt Coles took six wickets and Kent survived a collapse with the target in sight to come away victorious.
Former England batsman Denly continued his impressive recent form with a chanceless century, his sixth in the format. Bell-Drummond helped add 203 for the first wicket, a club record against Hampshire, and notched his highest score for Kent with an exciting 91.
The pair looked unstoppable and on course for a ten-wicket annihilation but three wickets in seven balls halted the charge.
Bell-Drummond, who survived a caught behind appeal early on, was the first to finally depart when he picked out Tom Alsop on the boundary rope. Four balls later Brad Wheal, on his Hampshire 50-over debut, took his second, getting Denly looping one up to Sean Ervine.
Skipper Sam Northeast was then lbw to Ryan McLaren and Darren Stevens was well caught by Mason Crane, Wheal with a third to send a panic through Kent.
A collapse was in motion when Sam Billings pulled tamely to Gareth Berg to put Wheal on a hat-trick but Alex Blake and Will Gidman steered the away side out the storm and to victory with 39 balls to spare.
Earlier Hampshire were stuck in, and despite a solid 38-run stand to kick-start the innings, they haemorrhaged wickets regularly. Tom Alsop was the first man to depart as he tickled a delivery outside off stump to be caught behind and he was quickly followed back by opening partner Will Smith who dragged on.
Captain Ervine added a stodgy 21 before attempting to ramp over his shoulder but was caught at extra cover.
Adam Wheater gave the hosts hope with a nicely crafted half-century, from 56 deliveries, during a useful 61 run partnership with Liam Dawson. But in the 31st over both departed in exactly the same way, Coles grabbing his first with Wheater hooking to Blake. And Blake was again the catcher when Dawson fell into the same trap three balls later.
From then on it was the Coles show on his former home ground as he yorked Lewis McManus and had Gareth Berg slashing away from his body.
Coles had his fifth when Gareth Andrew chipped to extra cover, and with his final delivery pulled off a remarkable reaction caught and bowled to see off Ryan McLaren, who had quietly scored 43. It was the second time Coles had taken six wickets in a List A fixture, finishing this time with 6 for 56.
Wheal was the last to depart, mind boggled by a slower ball, to give Hampshire a below-par total of 229, which never looked enough once Denly and Bell-Drummond got going.
Hampshire vs Kent
Royal London One-Day Cup
England Domestic Season