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Kent Spitfires suffered a 35-run defeat against Sussex Sharks in NatWest T20 Blast South Group at Canterbury

By Mark Stokes

Kent Spitfires suffered a comprehensive 35-run defeat at home to Sussex Sharks on Friday night as their NatWest T20 Blast hopes suffered a blow.

After losing the toss on a tricky wicket, the hosts restricted Sussex to 149-8, though Luke Wright was again a thorn in their side with an excellent 85.

However the Spitfires reply never got going and they slipped to 23-3 inside four overs and the game was all-but up when talisman Darren Stevens departed to leave it 67-6 with more than 10 overs remaining.

In the end they fell well short to hand the visitors a first win since early May and dent their own hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages.

After being asked to bowl, Kent made an early breakthrough when Mitch Claydon tempted Chris Nash into clipping one into the sky for David Griffiths to take a simple catch at mid-on for three, to leave the visitors 16-1 from two overs.

In his first game at Canterbury since his century in the Yorkshire Bank 40 World Record run-chase last summer, Wright produced a trademark knock, finding the boundary early on, putting on 71 in less than 10 overs with T20 debutant Harry Finch and reaching his half-century from just 35 balls.

James Tredwell made the breakthrough when he trapped Finch LBW attempting a sweep for a tidy 22 to leave the visitors on 87-2 in the 12th over.

Rory Hamilton-Brown did not linger for his 12, lofting one straight to Adam Ball at long-off off the bowling of Stevens to make it 107-3 with 35 balls remaining.

Matt Machan offered Tredwell the easiest caught-and-bowled off his illustrious career for nine to make it 121-4.

The wickets continued to flow as a sharp throw from Alex Blake allowed David Griffiths to run-out Ben Brown (2), attempting a second to make it

Bollinger bowled former kent man Yasit Arafat (1) and trapped Will Beer (0) in the space of three balls in the penultimate over to leave the visitors on 137-7 and finish with a fine 2-24 from his four overs.

The visitors managed to add 12 from the final frame from Griffiths, four of them byes, while Wright was eventually dismissed from the final delivery, slashing Griffiths into the sky as he attempted a third six to go with his seven fours, with Daniel Bell-Drummond taking a solid catch.

James Tredwell. Picture: Barry Goodwin

The reply made a slow start as Rob Key was bowled by Lewis Hatchett for a first ball duck to make it 1-1 and despite four sublime fours in a 13-ball stay, Sam Northeast misjudged a slog off Hatchett with the final ball of the third over to have his middle stump removed.

A superb diving catch from Rory Hamilton-Brown off James Anyon saw Alex Blake back in the dugout for a third-ball duck to leave the Spitfires reeling on 23-3 in the fourth over.

Bell-Drummond pulled Steffan Piolet to the rope for an easy Machan catch for 14 with the score on 52-3 and 98 runs still needed from 73 balls.

That brought Stevens to the crease to join Billings, who departed leg before to Beer after a tidy 22 which included three fours in his first four balls.

Stevens was caught and bowled by Piolet moments later for three and even though Arafat dropped an absolute dolly from Ball, Chris Nash made no such mistake as he leapt to catch Tredwell (4) at mid-off to give Piolet his third scalp to finish with 3-14 off four overs.

Claydon sent one down the throat off Finch at long-off off Beer for one and Nash bowled Bollinger (3) with his first ball to leave Kent on 87-9, and despite a late flurry from Ball (18) and Griffiths (a T20 career best 18 not out), Arafat bowled Ball to make it 114 all-out.

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