Not even a big-hitting display from all-rounder Darren Stevens, and a dramatic batting collapse by Surrey, was enough for Kent to progress to the NatWest T20 Blast quarter finals in Canterbury on Friday night.
The Spitfires won the clash, their final in the competition, by 21 runs but it was too little, too late, despite the all drama and excitement at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.
Stevens smashed 67 off 38 balls, including seven sixes and a four, to help the Spitfires post 175-7 after winning the toss and batting first.
The innings had started brightly enough when captain Rob Key hit three consecutive fours in former Kent all-rounder Azhar Mahmood's opening over, the second of the night.
But the Pakistani got his revenge with the very next ball, having Key caught in the covers for 14.
Daniel Bell-Drummond (17), Sam Northeast (2) and Fabian Cowdrey (11) also fell cheaply as Kent found runs hard to come by - until Stevens launched his blistering attack.
His clean-hitting saw the Kent 50 come up in the eighth over, the 100 in the 14th and the 150 just four overs later.
Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens hammered seven sixes in his 67 against Surrey in the NatWest T20 clash in Canterbury. Photo: Barry Goodwin
He found an able ally in Alex Blake (45), the pair sharing a fifth-wicket partnership of 90 before Stevens departed after being caught at long-on by Kevin Pietersen going for another maximum.
With Stevens back in the pavilion, Blake looked set to beat his previous best of 58 until he holed out on the first ball of the final over.
Mahmood finished with 3 for 43 off his four overs while Tillakaratne Dilshan picked up 2 for 21.
The Surrey reply was delayed by 10 minutes until the floodlights got to full power - but the openers appeared to have no trouble seeing the ball when play started.
Steve Davies (20) and Dilshan (46) got the Londoners off to a solid start putting on 40 before Ben Harmison got rid of Davies.
Pietersen (32 off 31) then combined with Dilshan to take the score to 95 before that man Stevens had the Sri Lankan caught by Mitch Claydon.
Stevens then played a role in the next wicket to fall, catching Pietersen off James Tredwell with the score on 124 and the collapse, which would see Surrey losing 5-10, had started.
Claydon (2-27) then took two wickets in two balls before wicket-keeper Sam Billings run out Robin Peterson and it was 128-6.
Tredwell (2-35) struck again, bowling Gary Wilson (31), and it was 134-7 before Surrey finally limped to 154-7.
Despite the loss, Surrey will host Worcestershire, in the quarter finals.