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Kent Spitfires win fifth consecutive NatWest T20 Blast South Group game after three-wicket triumph against Gloucestershire

Kent batsman Alex Blake hammered an unbeaten 59 against Gloucestershire
Kent batsman Alex Blake hammered an unbeaten 59 against Gloucestershire

A phenomenal innings by Alex Blake secured Kent Spitfires a place in the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals after a stunning three-wicket win against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham on Sunday.

Blake hammered a sensational unbeaten 59 off just 24 balls as Kent chased down 166-7 with two balls to spare.

The big-hitting left-hander smashed four sixes and five fours in his brutal attack as Kent wrapped up a fifth consecutive win in the competition.

Captain Sam Northeast (49) and opener Joe Denly (31) made the other major contributions in the run chase.

Daniel Bell-Drummond, the star of Friday's win against Somerset at Canterbury after scoring a T20 career-best 77, was the first wicket to fall when he had made nine.

He was caught behind by former Kent wicket-keeper Geraint Jones off Craig Miles (3-27).

Sam Billings (5), Darren Stevens (10), Fabian Cowdrey (4) and Matt Coles (0) all perished cheaply before Blake got Spitfires home in style with a towering six to complete a stunning performance.

To complete a memorable day for Kent, all-rounder Stevens became the first player to score 3,000 runs in English domestic T20s.

Earlier, Gloucestershire captain, Australian Michael Klinger, who is the competition’s leading run scorer this summer, top-scored with 75 off 50 balls before Cowdrey (2-22) had him caught by Callum Haggett at backward point. Cowdrey also bowled the other Australian in the home line-up, Peter Handscomb, for 28.

Jones made five in his final outing against his former team-mates before becoming one of Mitch Claydon's three scalps.

Claydon finished with the impressive figures of 3-27 off his four overs while Coles (2-30) took the other wickets to fall.

Kent, who are three points clear at the top of the South Group now, host Glamorgan at Tunbridge Wells on Friday.

Before then, Kent return to LV= County Championship Division 2 action on Monday against Surrey at the Kia Oval.

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