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Kent win by five wickets against Essex to get home T20 quarter-final

Kent won their final group stage match of the Vitality Blast competition at Essex on Friday.

Spitfires won by five wickets at Chelmsford having already qualified for the knockout stages.

Daniel Bell-Drummond batted through until the last over to score a brilliant half-century to see his side reach Essex’s total of 201.

The win also means Kent will play a home quarter-final in the knockout stages.

Adam Milne. Picture: Chris Davey... (3664762)
Adam Milne. Picture: Chris Davey... (3664762)

Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drummond got Kent off to a flying start in the powerplay overs smashing their way to 75-0 chasing Essex's total of 201.

Shane Snater went for 23 from the sixth over of the innings with Denly hitting four fours in a row.

Bell-Drummond raced to his half-century from just 27 balls.

Denly was the first man to lose his wicket for Kent making 45 from 24 balls before he was caught on the boundary by Pepper off Nijjar with the score on 98.

Ravi Bopara took his 200th T20 wicket when he bowled Heino Kuhn (6) on the last ball of the 10th over with the Spitfires just ahead of run-rate.

Essex squeezed Kent in the middle overs conceding just 15 runs from four overs.

Billings started to accelerate his innings hitting Simon Harmer for two fours and a six at the start of the 15th over before being caught in the deep for 33.

The Kent batters struggled against Bopara (1-22) and should have had another wicket but Blake was dropped on the final ball of his spell.

Blake ran out of lives in the penultimate over, after being dropped three times, and was caught by Coles off Snater for 19 with Kent still needing 20 from 10 balls.

Bell-Drummond was out in the final over for 80 with Kent still needing five from four balls. Grant Stewart hit the winnings boundary with a ball to spare.

After losing the toss and being put into bat, Varun Chopra and Adam Wheater got Essex off to a solid start in the powerplay overs hitting 58 without losing a wicket.

Calum Haggett got the important first breakthrough in the eighth over when Wheater (40) was caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Sean Dickson when the openers were going at 10 runs an over.

Grant Stewart, playing in just his second T20 match, struggled with the ball and went for 28 from two overs and included four wides.

Kent’s leading wicket-taker, Joe Denly (2-33), struck twice in the 12th over to dismiss Chopra and Walter for 37 and 29 respectively to leave Essex on 117-3 and with two new batters at the crease.

Haggett bowled well to finish his four overs with figures of 2-26 with Adam Milne (1-30) also keeping it tight in the final overs.

Playing in his 300th T20 match, Ravi Bopara played a good innings to hit 25 from just 10 deliveries but was starved of the strike in the final over as they reached 201-6.

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