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Kent through to Vitality Blast quarter-finals with win over Somerset

Kent secured their place in the Vitality Blast knockout stages with a victory over Somerset at The Spitfire Ground.

Spitfires won by five runs in their penultimate game of the competition and equalled their highest ever T20 score of 231 in the process.

Kent continued their excellent record against Somerset and made it 10 wins in a row and have not lost to them in T20 cricket since 2011.

They will go into the final match of the group stages, against Essex at Chelmsford on Friday, knowing that a win would guarantee a home tie in the last eight.

Spitfires made one change from their win over Middlesex with Grant Stewart making his T20 debut and he replaced Zak Crawley. Marcus Stoinis still missed out through a hamstring injury.

during the Vitality Blast T20 match at The Spitfire Ground, Canterbury on Thursday evening. Picture: Chris Davey. (3644658)
during the Vitality Blast T20 match at The Spitfire Ground, Canterbury on Thursday evening. Picture: Chris Davey. (3644658)

Grant Stewart made an early breakthough in the Somerset reply to Kent’s 231-7 in the third over on his T20 debut.

Imran Qayyum took a superb catch running backwards to dismiss Johann Myburgh for four.

The visitors ended the powerplay overs on 57-1 after a flurry of boundaries from Steven Davies and Peter Trego.

Joe Denly claimed his 17th wicket of the competition when he removed Trego (30) when he was looking dangerous. Stewart took a good catch on the boundary to remove the former Kent player.

Spin provided another wicket with Qayyum getting Davies out for 45 from 25 balls in his first over.

A quick partnership of 47 in 21 balls from James Hildreth and Corey Anderson (23) was broken when the latter skied one over the head of keeper Sam Billings who took a superb catch running 20 yards towards the boundary off Haggett.

With five overs to go, Somerset were one run ahead of where Kent were at the same stage of the innings but need a big finish to get anywhere near the total.

The visitors were still scoring boundaries but the run rate kept climbing and with 12 balls remaining they needed 41 runs.

There was late drama as Adam Milne was removed from the attack after bowling two waist height no-balls in the penultimate over. It was a little more uncomfortable than it should have been for Kent as they won by five runs.

Joe Denly. Picture: Chris Davey.
Joe Denly. Picture: Chris Davey.

After losing the toss and being put into bat, Kent got off to a flying start in the powerplay finishing the first six overs 68-1.

Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drummond were scoring freely before the former was out on the penultimate ball of the powerplay for 26.

Denly was caught a short third man by Peter Trego trying to guide the ball to the ropes off Jerome Taylor.

Bell-Drummond played well for his 37 from 21 balls before he was bowled by Max Waller in the eighth over.

Waller got his second of the game when Heino Kuhn (26) was caught by Corey Anderson trying to reverse sweep a full toss.

Sam Billings and Alex Blake put on a superb partnership of 82 runs for Kent before the latter was caught on the boundary by Jamie Overton for 42 from 22 balls.

Full of confidence after his half-century at Beckenham on Sunday, Blake hit five fours and two sixes including one that went into the retirement flats on the ground.

Jerome Taylor bowled a costly 16th over for Somerset with Kent smashing 25 runs including three boundaries in a row from skipper Sam Billings.

Taylor had to be taken out of the attack after he bowled a second no-ball over waist height in his fourth over of the innings.

Somerset were then penalised for their slow over rate during the innings and Kent were given an extra six runs.

Billings batted through to the end of the innings and finished not out on 57 from 35 balls and was his third half-century of the competition.

Sean Dickson played a good cameo at the end and hit 20 from nine deliveries to see Kent up to 231-5.

That total was their joint record score in T20 cricket and their highest against Somerset.

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