Michael Hogan sets up emphatic Kent win over Gloucestershire
Joe Denly and a belligerent Jordan Cox canter past meagre target at Canterbury
Kent 116 for 3 (Cox 38*, Denly 35*, Smith 3-22) beat Gloucestershire 113 (Dent 55, Hogan 3-13) by seven wickets
A near full house at Canterbury saw the Kent Spitfires rout Gloucestershire by seven wickets in their opening Vitality Blast fixture of 2023.
The 2021 Champions cruised home with 6.3 overs to spare, closing on 116 for 3 in reply to the visitors' meagre 113 all out.
Michael Hogan took 3 for 13 while Grant Stewart, Jack Leaning and Kane Richardson all took two apiece as the visitors collapsed from 82 for 3 in 16.3 overs. Chris Dent was the visitors' top scorer with 55, but none of his team-mates made more than 12.
Tom Smith claimed 3 for 22 but it was a chastening evening for Goucestershire. Joe Denly anchored Kent's reply an unbeaten 35 before Jordan Cox stole the show by clubbing 39 from 17 balls, including a huge six for the winning runs.
With more than 3700 spectators packed into the Spitfire Ground and standing room only on the bankings, Gloucestershire chose to bat.
Hogan struck early, getting Grant Roelofsen caught on the boundary by Joey Evison in the second over, although the momentum was back with the visitors when Kane Richardson's first over as a Spitfire went for 19.
Leaning then bowled Miles Hammond for 9 but Dent hit successive sixes in George Linde's first over, only for Gloucestershire to lose their last seven wickets for just 31 runs.
Leaning had Ollie Price caught at long off by Richardson for 12 and although Dent reached fifty when he glanced Leaning for four, Hogan started the collapse when he took two wickets in the tenth over. Dent fell to an acrobatic catch by Sam Billings, who was back behind the stumps after handing Cox the gloves for the last two Championship games, before Jack Taylor offered the wicketkeeper a dolly.
Denly ran out Zafar Gohar for 8 before James Bracey swiped Stewart to the square leg boundary, where he was caught by Leaning for 7.
Two balls later, Stewart bowled Paul van Meekeren for a duck and although Smith just survived the next delivery, he was out for four when he chipped Richardson to Cox.
Richardson then wrapped up the innings with 21 balls to spare when he had David Payne caught behind for a golden duck.
There was an early hiccup in the run chase when Tawanda Muyeye tried to drive Price and was caught by Hammond at mid-off for six but Kent were almost halfway to the target by the end of the powerplay, at 55 for 1.
When Daniel Bell-Drummond was lbw to Smith for 27 it broke a 52-run partnership and Billings was then out for 6 when he tried to reverse-sweep Smith and fell to a juggling catch by Zafar, but that was as close as Kent came to a wobble.
With the required run rate under four they didn't need to take any risks but Cox seemed to be in a hurry, taking 17 from van Meekern in the 12th over, including a flicked six over backward square leg. He scrambled a single of the next ball to keep the strike and then smacked Zafar for a huge six over into the Cowdrey Stand to win the game.