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Kent Spitfires back to winning ways in the NatWest T20 Blast after beating Essex at Canterbury

Captain Sam Northeast Picture: Barry Goodwin
Captain Sam Northeast Picture: Barry Goodwin

Captain Sam Northeast led from the front as Kent Spitfires ended a two-game losing run in the NatWest T20 Blast South Group in style with a six-wicket win against Essex at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, on Thursday night.

Northeast top-scored with sensational 90 off 52 balls as his side chased down 173-6 with five balls to spare and move up to second.

He was dismissed with the scores level after being caught by Nick Browne off veteran Aussie paceman Shaun Tait (1-48).

Northeast departed after hitting two sixes and 12 fours and it was the fourth time in his past five innings in the competition that he had passed fifty.

While Northeast played the lead, opener Daniel Bell-Drummond also played a starring role, scoring a T20 career-best 61 off 49 balls with one six and seven fours.

Bell-Drummond and Northeast shared a 122-run record partnership for Kent against Essex before the former departed after being bowled by Graham Napier (1-17).

The pair beat the previous best effort of 97 between Rob Key and Azahar Mahmood at the same venue in 2011.

The Kent run-chase had started disastrously, losing Joe Denly for one after just five balls when he was caught at mid-wicket by Ryan ten Doeschate off left-arm quick Reece Topley.

Topley, who was named in the England T20 squad to play New Zealand next week on Thursday, finished with 1-25.

Darren Stevens came and went for 11 after being caught in the deep by Mark Pettini off Ravi Bopara (1-28) in the 18th over with Kent on 150.

Northeast went with the scores level but there was no stopping his side.

Earlier, the Essex innings started sedately before opener Jesse Ryder opened his shoulders, smashing paceman Mitch Claydon (1-50) for five consecutive fours in the fourth over.

But the carnage was over in the next over and it was Kent's T20 debutant quick Ivan Thomas who ended it, trapping the dangerous looking New Zealand international leg before for 26 with his third ball.

Thomas' impressive first over went for just one run, his second for only four before he finally finished his four overs with 1-22 including nine dot balls.

Tom Westley (13) was next to depart, bowled by Tredwell (1-21) with the fifth ball of his opening over to leave Essex 77-2 in the ninth.

The Essex hundred arrived in the 12th over when Bopara smashed Stevens for four straight down the ground.

Opener Pettini reached 50 off 36 balls in the 14th over before Bopara was stumped by Ryan Davies off Stevens (1-24) for 31 in the next over with Essex 130-4.

Ten Doeschate (2) went in the following over after being caught in the deep by Alex Blake off Matt Coles (2-28).

Claydon struck next, bowling Foster for 14, before Coles had Pettini caught at mid-wicket by Stevens two balls later to leave Essex 156-6 in the 19th.

Pettini struck one six and six fours in his 56 off 45 balls as Essex closed on 173-6.

Kent play Surrey at the Kia Oval on Friday.

Kent: Daniel Bell-Drummond, Joe Denly Sam Northeast, Fabian Cowdrey, Darren Stevens, Alex Blake, Matt Coles, Ryan Davies, James Tredwell, Mitch Claydon, Ivan Thomas.

Essex: Mark Pettini, Jesse Ryder, Tom Wesley, Ravi Bopara, Ryan ten Doeschate, Nick Browne, James Foster, Graham Napier, David Masters, Shaun Tait, Reece Topley.

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