Published: 00:00, 04 July 2014
| Updated: 20:32, 04 July 2014
Kent Spitfires will all but certainly miss out on the knockout stages of NatWest T20 Blast after a 47-run humbling at home to Hampshire on Friday.
Needing a win to reignite their South Group campaign after five games without a win, the hosts were never in the hunt at Canterbury, allowing the visitors to post an imposing victory target of 174 before being bowled out for just 126 in a feeble reply.
Already without overseas ace Doug Bollinger (shoulder) Darren Stevens again stood-in for skipper Rob Key, who suffered a hamstring strain in the warm-up at the Oval on Wednesday, and after winning the toss his decision to open the bowling himself was justified as he got James Vince (4) to nick behind to Sam Billings with just the third delivery.
Michael Carberry went after Stevens in his second over, cracking three consecutive fours then a six, but Stevens (2-35) came out on top as Carberry skied the last ball of the third over to Adam Ball at deep midwicket to depart for 18 from six balls.
Four balls later Mitch Claydon got Jimmy Adams to nick behind for 15 to make it 38-3 and continue the lively start.
Dangerman Glenn Maxwell (13) didn’t linger, smashing one high into the sky to give Ben Harmison his first T20 wicket, with Daniel Bell-Drummond taking the catch after an age at long-on to make it 62-4 at the start of the seventh over.
It was 90-4 at the mid-way point with Harmison and James Tredwell help stem the tide of runs, and Sean Ervine and Will Smith put on 69 for the fifth wicket in 8.2 overs before Ball got Smith to play on for 37 to make it 131-5 with 5.3 overs remaining.
Ball was also in the action, running out incoming Chris Wood for a three ball duck, and the very next delivery Tredwell (1-29) bowled Kyle Abbott to leave the visitors on 134-7.
Claydon – the pick of the attack with 2-26 from four overs - obliterated Ervine’s stumps with the first ball of the 18th over, leaving the visitors 145-8 and sending Ervine back to the dugout with a classy 47 from 34 balls including two huge sixes and three fours.
Former Kent favourite Matt Coles made a cameo of 29 from 17 balls, including 16 off the penultimate over from Harmison, before being superbly run-out by Claydon off the penultimate ball.
The paceman took the sting off a straight drive with his hand before diving to launch the rolling ball at the stumps to send Coles back to the dugout.
The final ball went for four to leave Kent needing 174 to win, but they made a slow start with Bell-Drummond (1) slicing one off Chris Wood to a running Maxwell to end the second over and leave the Spitfires 8-1.
Fabian Cowdrey and Sam Northeast put on 25 from the next 20 balls but Northeast (15) hacked one off Coles high for Maxwell to hold on and it was 33-2.
Stevens joined Cowdrey to steer the hosts to 60-2 from nine overs but Cowdrey went for 22 next ball, stumped by Michael Bates off spinner Danny Briggs.
Bates also accounted for Spitfires talisman Stevens (23), taking a catch on the run to make it 74-4 after the all-rounder had clobbered Will Smith into the sky, just three balls after a monstrous six towards the hospital.
Alex Blake took up the mantle and cracked two huge sixes and shared 40 with Sam Billings (19) in 4.2 overs before the keeper slashed one straight to Adams off Coles (2-24 off four) to leave Kent 114-5 and needing 60 runs from 29 balls to win.
Blake followed back to the hutch moments later however, holing out to Maxwell off Wood for 26 to leave the Spitfires needing 58 from the final 22 balls.
Ball was bowled by Wood for one five balls later and Harmison departed for three, bowled by Abbott at the start of the 18th over as Kent were reduced to 119-8.
Two balls later Claydon followed his former Durham teammate back to the sidelines for a duck, bowled by Abbott and Adam Riley became Wood’s fourth victim (4-24) with eight balls to spare, being bowled for five.
Kent are third-bottom of South Group with Glamorgan, Sussex and Gloucestershire all ahead of them in the hunt for the fourth and final spot in the knockout stages.
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