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Kent Spitfires v Hampshire T20 Blast 2018 match report

By Josh Fordham

Kent cliched victory in a tense Vitality Blast match with Hampshire at Beckenham on Friday to make it three wins from their opening four matches.

Sam Billings scored a career-best 95 not out as the Spitfires piled on 210-4 after being put into bat in their first home T20 match of the campaign.

That total proved too much for Hampshire with tight bowling at the death from Calum Haggett, Mitch Claydon and Carlos Brathwaite enough to see Kent home.

Hampshire needed seven from the last three balls but Claydon held his nerve as the visitors ended on 207-6.

Sam Billings. Picture: Kent Cricket
Sam Billings. Picture: Kent Cricket

After posting that mammoth total, Joe Denly again proved effective bowling the first over of the innings when he took the wickets of James Vince (1) and Colin Munro (5).

The unbelievable start continued when Carlos Brathwaite got former Kent skipper Sam Northeast out first ball to leave Hampshire 6-3 after seven balls.

Rilee Rossouw provided some much needed runs, making 25 from 11 balls before he edged one behind to Billings off Claydon.

Hampshire continued to score quickly despite losing wickets and finished the powerplay on 74-4.

Haggett got the valuable wicket of Tom Alsop (41) in the 10th over as the rain clouds threatened with Hampshire ahead of the DLS score.

Denly (3-37) again took a key wicket for the Spitfires in the 15th over as he removed Lewis McManus for 38 from 20 balls.

A 30-ball half-century from Liam Dawson gave Hampshire vital runs but Haggett (1-18) and Brathwaite (1-46) saw Hampshire needing 16 from the final over.

Mitch Claydon. Picture: Kent Cricket
Mitch Claydon. Picture: Kent Cricket

Earlier in the afternoon, Kent reached 50-2 from the powerplay with Denly and Heino Kuhn going cheaply.

Denly holed out to long-on for 18 while Kuhn chipped to mid-on for 10, giving Dawson two easy catches off Chris Wood and Ryan Stevenson respectively.

Billings came in to provide acceleration for Kent, putting on a 66-run partnership with Daniel Bell-Drummond.

The pair hit 20 off the 11th over of the innings bowled by Gareth Berg with both clearing the ropes before Bell-Drummond was caught by James Vince for 46 in the 13th over.

Billings smashed his way to a half-century from 33 balls with consecutive sixes off Wood.

The skipper and Alex Blake (14) put on 70 for the fourth wicket before the latter was run out in the 19th over. Brathwaite faced three balls to finish 11 not out.

But it was a superb knock from man-of-the-match Billings who finished unbeaten on 95 from 54 balls, including seven fours and five sixes.

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