Kent keep hopes alive with rain-affected win

PUBLISHED: 07:54 30 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:53 30 May 2018

Kent's Joe Denly gives the thumbs up (pic Gareth Fuller/PA)

Kent's Joe Denly gives the thumbs up (pic Gareth Fuller/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Kent maintained their Royal London One-day Cup qualification hopes after beating Somerset by 28 runs under the Duckworth/Lewis method in a rain-ruined floodlight game in Canterbury on Tuesday night.

Reduced to 42 overs per side after heavy morning showers, Kent held sway throughout against the injury-hit West Country visitors before a further deluge washed out the remaining 26 overs and confirmed Kent’s third successive south group win.

Chasing Somerset’s 221-9, Kent made a disastrous start losing leading RLODC scorer Daniel Bell-Drummond for a third-ball duck, caught behind wafting outside off against Lewis Gregory.

The hosts regrouped sensible to reach 48-1 come the end of the batting powerplay and had cantered to 88-1 through Joe Denly (44*) and Heino Kuhn (36*) when a sharp shower just before 8pm took the players off with Spitfires 28 ahead of the required rate.

Bowling first after winning the toss, Spitfires made a flying start through Matt Henry, who was awarded his Kent cap before the game.

The Kiwi paceman saw Johannes Myburgh dropped by Alex Blake off a rasping drive in his first over but, after the batsman cantered a single, struck with his next ball to have left-handed Steve Davies caught at the second attempt by Blake, again at extra cover.

In thundery, overcast conditions, the ball swung and nipped around off the seam under the floodlights and Henry struck in his next over by pegging back Myburgh’s off stump after he shouldered arms to an off-cutter that moved up the slope.

Peter Trego, the former Kent all-rounder, and James Hildreth took Somerset to 41-2 at the end of their nine-over batting powerplay but, three runs on, Darren Stevens struck with his third delivery winning a leg before shout as Hildreth played back and across a shooting off-cutter.

One-time Somerset all-rounder Calum Haggett accounted for former team-mate Trego by snaffling a sharp caught and bowled chance off a leading edge and Tom Banton chipped a Stevens slower ball low to Blake diving forward at short mid-wicket.

After reaching 83-5 at the innings mid-point, Somerset’s skipper Gregory lofted a Stevens length-ball over the ropes at long-on for the first six of the match as Gregory and Matt Renshaw posted 51 and 53-ball 50s in turn during a stand worth 103.

The partnership ended when Haggett had Renshaw (56) caught at short fine leg paddle sweeping then, four balls later, Roelof van der Merwe was caught at extra cover against Haggett.

Gregory’s 61-ball stay for 60 ended when he heaved across one from Mitch Claydon to lose middle stump and Jamie Overton skied to the keeper, Kent’s captain Sam Billings who returned from a 10-match Indian Premier League stint with eventual winners Chennai Super Kings only 24 hours earlier.

Veteran Stevens bowled a testing eight-over stint of 2-36 while Haggett and Henry led the way taking 3-42 and 3-37 respectively.

Kent coach Matt Walker felt his side had pretty much bossed the game and said: “It was a thoroughly professional performance I felt and a refreshing way to win, given our last ball thriller down in Hampshire on Sunday.

“We area learning and growing as a team and that is really pleasing to see. Players are starting work things out now after our two early losses and we’re looking like a decent side now.”

Somerset captain Gregory added: “We were pretty poor to be fair. It was a good toss to win what with the pitch having been under covers for most of the morning and with more bad weather expected, but we didn’t really adjust to conditions.

“We found ourselves a few runs short batting, 221 might have been possible to defend, but we lose momentum and wickets at crucial stages. We were 65 for five at one point and you’re not going to win too many games from that point.”

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