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Joe Denly hits an unbeaten century as Kent Spitfires beat Surrey by eight wickets in NatWest T20 Blast South Group

By Alex Hoad

Record-breaking heroics from centurion Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drummond helped Kent Spitfires claim a stunning win over Surrey at the Oval on Friday night. 

Denly smashed a career-best T20 knock of 116 not out from just 63 balls to inspire a superb chase which featured a record-breaking stand of 163 - the highest for any wicket in the club's T20 history.

Kent chased down an imposing Surrey total of 205-5 - the highest successful chase in club history and the fourth best in domestic T20 history - to win by eight wickets with three balls to spare in a game which will go down in Kent folklore.

Joe Denly was in great touch at the start of the Kent innings. Picture Andy Jones

Joe Denly was in great touch at the start of the Kent innings. Picture: Andy Jones

Despite being asked to bat first by Kent skipper Sam Northeast, openers Jason Roy and Aaron Finch got the hosts off to a blistering start and put on 108 for the opening wicket in nine overs before Roy edged fit-again Mitch Claydon to James Tredwell for 55 from just 30 balls.

Kent wrestled some initiative back and Finch departed to the next delivery, the first of occasional spinner Denly's first over and headed back to the pavilion with 49 from 25 balls featuring four fours and three sixes.

Kumar Sangakkara was held to a unusually modest 24 from 14 balls before being caught by Alex Blake off Adam Milne, who also bowled Dom Dibley (33) with Surrey on 190 with 11 balls remaining.

Milne ran-out Sam Curran for one but a career-best 29 not out from Ollie Pope saw the hosts post 205-5 from their 20 overs.

Milne finished with 2-33 from his four overs with Claydon taking 1-37 and Denly 1-15 from two.

The reply could not have begun better for the visitors as Bell-Drummond and Denly put on a club record opening stand to keep their side in touch with, and eventually ahead of the required run-rate of 10.25 an over.

Bell-Drummond breezed to his eighth T20 half-century with six fours but eventually departed for 64, caught by Pope off Jade Dernbach.

The pair had put on 163 from 15.4 overs leaving Kent needing 43 runs from the final 26 balls to make it two wins from three in South Group.

Sam Billings joined Denly, in the nervous 90s, and cracked a four, a single and a six in the first three deliveries he faced before Denly brought up three-figures with a single of Dernbach, the 54th ball he had faced, with eight of them going for four and six more clearing the ropes. He is the first Kent player to have score two T20 tons.

Billings holed-out to Tom Curran off Dernbach later the same over for 16 but the Spitfires needed just 17 runs from the final two overs and Denly and Alex Blake ensured seven were required off the final six balls from Ravi Rampaul - Kent’s victory being sealed with a no ball midway through the over.

Kent are back in action against Gloucestershire at Canterbury on Tuesday night (7pm).

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