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Kent Spitfires batsman Joe Denly reflects on 'special' night against Essex in NatWest T20 Blast

By KentOnline reporter

Kent Spitfires batsman Joe Denly said the reaction of the home crowd to his record-breaking ton against Essex helped make it even more special.

Opener Denly's knock of 127 came from just 66 balls with seven sixes and 11 fours. It was Kent's highest ever individual T20 score and the 31-year-old's third century in the competition, another club best.

He and Daniel Bell-Drummond shared a world record opening stand of 207 as Kent totalled 221-2 on their way to an 11-run win which kept alive their hopes of making the quarter-finals.

Joe Denly. Picture: Andy Jones.
Joe Denly. Picture: Andy Jones.

Denly admitted he was both delighted and surprised to be given a standing ovation by the Chelmsford crowd.

He also hopes the win will give Kent the momentum they need ahead of their final South Group match against Surrey at the Spitfire Ground St Lawrence on Friday.

The winner of that game - which starts at 7pm - is guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals.

Denly said: “It’s probably one of the most hostile places to come, but I got a very special feeling walking off with 127 to my name and to have everyone standing up and applauding was a great moment.

“I’m delighted with my partnership with Daniel at the top. We work well together and run pretty well. To get a world record is something very special. I’m delighted for Daniel as well.

"It was close in the end but I thought our bowlers came back and held their nerve and managed to get the win that sets it up nicely for the Surrey game.”

Denly was full of praise for seamer Calum Haggett, who helped peg Essex back after they had got away to flyer, bowling his four overs for just 18.

His were the most economical figures on the night and Denly said. “He was sensational in those middle overs and probably turned the game for us there.

"He has outbowled one of the best bowlers in the world in Mohammad Amir (he took 1-20 from his four overs). Hopefully he takes a lot from it – and same again tomorrow against Surrey.

“After tonight we’re really excited for tomorrow. We’ll have a big crowd behind us and it’ll be a special night.”

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