Kent 88 for 1 (Dely 44*) beat Somerset 221 for 9 (Gregory 60, Renshaw 56, Henry 3-37) by 28 runs (DLS method)
Kent maintained their Royal London Cup qualification hopes after beating Somerset by 28 runs under the DLS method in a rain-ruined floodlit game in Canterbury. 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.
“It was a thoroughly professional performance I felt and a refreshing way to win, given our last ball thriller down in Hampshire on Sunday,” Kent coach Matt Walker said. “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.”
Chasing Somerset’s 221 for 9, Kent made a disastrous start losing leading Royal London Cup scorer Daniel Bell-Drummond for a third-ball duck, caught behind wafting outside off against Lewis Gregory.
The hosts regrouped sensible to reach 48 for 1 come the end of the batting Powerplay and had cantered to 88 for 1 through Joe Denly and Heino Kuhn when a sharp shower just before 8pm took the players off with Kent 28 ahead of the required rate.
Bowling first after winning the toss, Kent 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 batsmen 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 offcutter that moved up the slope.
Peter Trego and James Hildreth took Somerset to 41 for 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 offcutter.
One-time Somerset allrounder 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 midwicket.
After reaching 83 for 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 fifties in turn during a stand worth 103. The partnership ended when Haggett had Renshaw caught at short fine leg paddle sweeping and 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 IPL stint with eventual winner’s Chennai Super Kings only 24 hours earlier.
“We were pretty poor to be fair,” Gregory said. “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.”