Jack Leaning, Jordan Cox set course for Kent despite Chris Green hat-trick
Darren Stevens stars again with three wickets as Middlesex fall short by 16
Kent 178 for 8 (Leaning 64, Cox 64, Green 5-32) beat Middlesex 162 for 8 (Hollman 51, Stevens 3-32) by 16 runs
A brilliantly-measured partnership between Jordan Cox and Jack Leaning steered Kent Spitfires to a 16-run win over Middlesex in their Vitality Blast match at Canterbury. The hosts were wobbling on 47 for 4 before Cox and Leaning both made 64, helping them recover to 178 for 8, despite a hat-trick for Chris Green, who took 5 for 32. Luke Hollman countered with a high-class 51 off 33 balls, but the visitors lost wickets too frequently to seriously threaten the hosts and finished on 162 for 8.
Middlesex's decision to field after winning the toss initially seemed vindicated when Blake Cullen took wickets with the last two balls of the third over, after he'd been hit for 13 off the previous four by Daniel Bell-Drummond, before the Kent skipper skied the fifth and was caught by Eoin Morgan at mid-off for 15.
Joe Denly slashed at the next ball and fell to a diving catch by John Simpson for 10 and in the next over Ollie Robinson edged Steven Finn and was caught behind for 8, leaving Kent on a modest 42 for 3 at the end of the powerplay.
Green had Alex Blake stumped off a wide for six, but Cox and Leaning responded with a cleverly-paced stand of 123, marked by smart running between the wickets and a well-timed acceleration that saw the last five overs produce 64 runs.
Green's final over saw Cox caught by Max Holden, a two, a six and then a hat-trick. Leaning was caught by Morgan, Darren Stevens stumped off his first delivery and Milnes caught by Bamber.
Middlesex's reply got off to a disastrous start. Stevie Eskinazi was caught behind off Denly for 4 and Paul Stirling skied James Logan's first delivery to Blake for a duck. Holden got a bottom edge to Stevens and was caught behind for 10, Simpson played a horrible shot to Leaning and was caught by Cox for 4 and Eoin Morgan cut Stevens to Bell-Drummond and was out for 27.
Stevens then bowled Green for 16 and although Nathan Sowter offered some late resistance with an unbeaten 31, when Fred Klaassen had Hollman caught by Blake off the final ball of the penultimate over, it left Middlesex needing 25 off six, a task that finally proved beyond them when Cullen holed out to Milnes and was caught by Blake for 4