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Kent Spitfires beat Essex Eagles in T20 Blast match at Canterbury

A half-century from Kent skipper Sam Billings helped his side to victory over Essex in the Vitality Blast.

Spitfires won by 28 runs at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence on Thursday to make it their fourth win of the competition.

They went back level on points at the top of the south group after their previous three matches had been abandoned due to the weather.

After winning the toss and batting first, Billings made 56 not out in Kent’s total of 191.

Adam Milne picked up four wickets in the Essex innings as the visitors were all out for 163.

Kent captain Sam Billings. Picture: Keith Gillard
Kent captain Sam Billings. Picture: Keith Gillard

Kent started well in the six over powerplay hitting 51 runs and only losing the wicket of Daniel Bell-Drummond (19) in the process.

Former Kent player Matt Coles went for 15 in his first over on his return to the Spitfire Ground.

Heino Kuhn smashed 18 from Ravi Bopara’s first over, including two consecutive sixes.

Denly (22) eventually was caught on the boundary by Paul Walter in Simon Harmer’s first over trying to clear the ropes.

In the next over, Kuhn edged one down the leg side off Adam Zampa’s bowling and Adam Wheater took a good catch to dismiss him for 26 from 14 balls.

Play had to be stopped halfway through the Kent innings for just over 10 minutes as the low sun meant the batsmen were struggling to see the ball.

Skipper Sam Billings proved some acceleration to the innings scoring a half-century from 35 balls and ending the innings 56 not out.

Australian all-round Marcus Stoinis made his Kent debut in style by hitting 47 off 33 balls before being run out in the final over. His innings including a six over the Frank Woolley stand.

Stoinis and Billings put on a 106-run partnership for the fourth wicket to help Kent up to 191-4. Adam Zampa the best of the Essex bowlers taking 2-31.

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Joe Denly struck in the first over with the ball claiming the wicket of Wheater who went without scoring.

Varun Chopra (3) then chipped straight to Alex Blake in Denly’s second over to leave Essex on 13-2 in the third over.

Paul Walter and Ryan ten Doeschate staged a recovery in the powerplay to leave the visitors 49-2 after the first six overs.

The pair put on 64 before ten Doeschate chopped on to his own stumps off Calum Haggett’s bowling for 34.

Wickets continued to fall during the Eagles innings with Denly (2-24), Haggett and Ivan Thomas claiming wickets.

Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sam Billings combined superbly to run Harmer out for eight to leave Essex 118-6 in the 16th over.

Kent's fielding in the match was sloppy with catches being dropped by Alex Blake, Heino Kuhn and Marcus Stoinis.

Blake then held on to one in the deep off Milne to get out Ravi Bopara for 42. The New Zealand fast bowler then clean bowled Peter Siddle the next ball to all but give Kent the win.

Milne ended with figures of 4-15 after getting two more wickets in the last over to get Essex all out for 163.

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