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Kent Spitfires beat Middlesex by 28 runs at Lord's to extend T20 winning streak to five games

ByCameron Hogwood

Kent beat Middlesex by 28 runs at Lord's to extend their unbeaten T20 record and their lead at the top of the South group.

Heino Kuhn and Alex Blake both struck half-centuries in a 114-run partnership as Kent posted 204-4 after being invited to bat first.

John Simpson top scored with 37 in reply but Middlesex fell short on 176-7 following 3-32 from Hardus Viljoen.

Kent's Alex Blake. Picture: Ady Kerry
Kent's Alex Blake. Picture: Ady Kerry

Kent named one change to the side that beat Surrey by nine wickets on Tuesday, with teenager Jordan Cox replacing Grant Stewart.

The hosts, who entered the game second in the South group, were boosted by the return of England World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan along with AB de Villiers and Paul Stirling.

Zak Crawley introduced himself to the Lord's crowd early on with two sixes either side of a four to lift Kent to 29-0 with the last three balls of the third over.

He was eventually caught at mid-off by De Villiers off Tom Helm to depart for 30, bringing an end to his 44-run opening partnership with Daniel Bell-Drummond.

Next to the crease was Ollie Robinson, who joined Bell-Drummond in leading Kent to 52-1 at the of the powerplay.

Robinson's stay didn't last long as he was caught in the deep by Toby Roland-Jones off the bowling of Steven Finn to depart for seven.

Bell-Drummond's innings was over for 25 moments later when he fired Finn's delivery straight into the hands of Stevie Eskinazi at mid-off.

Kuhn had a scare in the 11th over when he saw his shot to mid-on brush the finger tips of a stretching De Villiers.

A tough spell for Kent continued when Tuesday's match winner Mohammad Nabi was bowled by Nathan Sowter for seven, leaving with his side on 90-4.

Blake stepped up Kent's run rate in the 17th with three successive sixes off Fin, before Kuhn reached his half-century with a four off Helm.

A free hit conceded by Helm was then dispatched for six by Blake as he and Kuhn reached a hundred partnership in just 41 balls.

Having headed into the final over on 192-4, Kent closed on 204-4 thanks to an unbeaten stand of 114 from Kuhn (54 off 31) and Blake (66 off 29).

Heino Kuhn in T20 action for Kent. Picture: Ady Kerry
Heino Kuhn in T20 action for Kent. Picture: Ady Kerry

Middlesex started positively in chase of 205 to win as they put up 21 from the first two overs.

Hardus Viljoen then bowled Dawid Malan for five after the Middlesex skipper had exposed his stumps, before the South African doubled his tally two balls later when Eskinazi edged behind to Robinson.

It was soon three for Viljoen, this time forcing dangerman De Villiers to loft his shot into the hands of Bell-Drummond at mid-on.

In came Morgan to a standing ovation after leading England to World Cup success against New Zealand last month.

Accompanied by opener Stirling, he helped Middlesex to 57-3 at the end of their powerplay.

Nabi was next to strike, bowling Stirling for 27 as Middlesex were confined to 65-4 from eight overs.

Morgan then received a huge let off when he was dropped in the deep by Crawley, who had seemed to do the hard work before losing grip on his way down.

He and John Simpson reached their 50 partnership to leave Middlesex with 90 to win from 40 balls.

Morgan was finally gone in the 14th over as he holed out to Kuhn on the boundary to give Nabi his second wicket of the night.

Imran Qayyum got in on the act not long after, with Fred Klaassen making an excellent catch down the ground to send Simpson back for 37.

Middlesex were then reduced to 142-7 with the run-out of Helm following some fine work in the field from Crawley to get the ball back to Klaassen.

Roland-Jones offered a late flurry of 31 not out but Middlesex could only manage 176-7 as they lost by 28 runs.

Kent: Bell-Drummond (captain), Crawley, Robinson (wk), Kuhn, Nabi, Blake, Cox, Milne, Viljoen, Qayyum, Klaassen.

Middlesex: Stirling, Malan (captain), Eskinazi, De Villiers, Morgan, Simpson (wk), Roland-Jones, Helm, Sowter, Finn, Mujeeb.

Read more: All the latest Kent sport news

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