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Home Canterbury Sport Article
Kent are just one win away from their first one-day final appearance since 2008 after Sam Billings produced another explosive innings in the Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-final win against Gloucestershire at Canterbury.
The young wicketkeeper smashed 61 off just 35 balls, as Kent beat the visitors by 24 runs.
Kent will now play Warwickshire at Edgbaston on Thursday (September 4) after dismissing Gloucestershire for 218 chasing the 242 they had posted.
And it was Billings, Kent's leading run-scorer in the competition this season, and the third-highest overall in the competition, who once again stole the show in the Kent Innings.
He hit three massive sixes and seven fours, in a man-of-the-match performance to take his tally to 418 runs in six innings at stunning average of 104.50.
But before the fireworks from Billings, Kent had found the going tough on a slow wicket and against an accurate Gloucestershire attack after captain Rob Key won the toss and batted.
The first boundary didn't arrive until the fifth over courtesy of Sam Northeast after he clipped David Payne through midwicket.
But Payne (5-44) hit back in style three balls later, taking two wickets in two balls.
First he had Key (2) caught behind before Ben Harmison was trapped leg before first ball to leave Kent in trouble at 11-2.
Opener Sam Northeast (78 off 123 balls ) and Fabian Cowdrey (51 off 68 balls ) then staged a fight back, sharing a third-wicket partnership of 106 before Cowdrey fell.
All-rounder Darren Stevens replaced Cowdrey and made 12 before attempting to hit Payne out of the ground and was caught on the long-on boundary to leave his side on 133-4.
That signalled the arrival of the big-hitting Billings and he didn't disappoint.
He and Northeast put on 82 in 51 balls before Craig Miles (3-48) sent Northeast on his way and he also took the prized scalp of Billings not long after.
After Billings departed on 222, the last four wickets fell for just 20 runs.
And the way the visitors set about their run-chase, it didn't appear 242 was going to be enough.
They raced to 46 before Harmison (3-40) struck, taking his first wicket of night, that of Will Tavare for 19.
Gloucestershire then collapsed to 125-6 before Will Gidman (39) and Benny Howell (33) shared a stand of 53 before David Griffiths (2-36) yorked Gidman.
Griffiths also finally ended Gloucestershire's innings by bowling Payne.
Durham will host Nottinghamshire in the other semi-final on Saturday (September 6).
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