First blood to Kent in cat and mouse thriller

South Division

The battle between two of the pre-tournament favourites went to the penultimate ball as holders Kent sneaked a six-wicket over Sussex at Canterbury . Rob Key surprised a few people by sticking Sussex in, but the move paid off as they lost three of their big guns early on. Chris Adams (57) and Dwayne Smith (27) appeared to have rescued things, but Smith's dismissal, caught at long-on, triggered another collapse, Yasir Arafat mopping things up with 4 for 17. Key (34) and Joe Denly (47*) gave Kent a rollicking start, aided by some indifferent fielding, and although Adams did his best to make things tough by calling back his pace bowlers in the fading light. The move made life hard for the batsman, especially Darren Stevens who was struck attempting to hook Luke Wright, forcing him to retire hurt with blood pouring from his nose. The tactic appeared to have worked as Kent stalled, but with 25 needed from 17 balls, Azhar Mahmood smacked a straight six and a cover-driven four to swing it back their way. With two needed from two, the keeper came up to the stumps but missed a leg-side Yorker which raced for four byes.
Surrey offered little against Essex, losing by seven wickets with five overs remaining at The Oval. Click here for Andrew McGlashan's report.

Middlesex's 190 for 7 proved beyond Hampshire under lights at The Rose Bowl even though the home side included Kevin Pietersen and Dimitri Mascarenhas in their ranks. Put into bat. Middlesex scored at almost 12 an over in the first third of the innings with all but one of their top six making contributions, although Pietersen the bowler with 3 for 33 pegged them back at the end. While he was in the middle the home fans remained confident, but when he became the first of former Hampshire favourite Shaun Udal's three victims for 43 the momentum switched and Middlesex ran out easy winners.

North Division

Paul Collingwood warmed up for Friday's international against New Zealand by taking 5 for 14 as Durham beat Derbyshire by five wickets in a rain-blighted match at Chester-le-Street. The impressive Shaun Pollock took 1 for 11 as Derbyshire were kept in check, and then Collingwood strangled the middle order either side of the first rain interruption. Another delay left Durham needing 48 off seven hours in virtual darkness - the game did not finish until almost 9.30pm - and they were taken to the wire by Nayan Doshi who grabbed a hat-trick in the penultimate over. Pollock's experience proved vital as he clipped a three off the fifth ball of the last over.

Click here for John Ward's report from Leicestershire against Lancashire at Grace Road.

Midlands/West/Wales Division

Six sixes by David Sales in an unbeaten 71 steered Northamptonshire to a 25-run victory over Somerset at Taunton. Northants smashed 201 for 4 after being put in, with Andrew Hall (54) and Rob White (45) also chipping in. Marcus Trescothick (69 off 32 balls) and Justin Langer (32) got Somerset off to a flier with an opening stand of 104 in just over eight overs, all after Trescothick should have been run out before he had scored. But Jason Brown removed them both in successive overs and the innings lost its way. Somerset finishing on 176 for 7.

Rain meant that there was no result between Glamorgan and Warwickshire at Cardiff where Warwickshire made 140 for 7 in their 19-over innings.