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Kent Spitfires (184-4) lost to Essex Eagles (188-6) by four wickets in T20 Blast


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Kent Spitfires suffered a second T20 Blast defeat inside three days at Canterbury, losing to Essex Eagles by four wickets on Friday night.

Undeterred by winning the toss and unwisely batting first in Wednesday's defeat to Somerset, Kent captain Sam Billings again opted to try and put a score on the board under sunny skies.

Daniel Bell-Drummond helped get Kent off to a good start in the powerplay against Essex. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Daniel Bell-Drummond helped get Kent off to a good start in the powerplay against Essex. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Kent got off to a flying start in the powerplay, not losing a wicket until Daniel Bell-Drummond was bowled by Aron Nijjar for 31 to leave them 62-1 in the seventh over.

Zak Crawley hit seven boundaries in his 29-ball 40 but was trapped leg before by Simon Harmer when attempting a reverse sweep.

Joe Denly's 35 included one maximum, off Aussie debutant Daniel Sams (1-47) over mid-wicket, but he went the next ball, through his shot too quickly to a slower ball.

Zak Crawley on his way to 40 in 29 balls against Essex on Friday. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Zak Crawley on his way to 40 in 29 balls against Essex on Friday. Picture: Barry Goodwin

When Jack Leaning departed for two shortly afterwards, Kent were 128-4 with 4.3 overs left to bat. But that saw George Linde and Billings come together in swashbuckling style.

Billings hit three sixes and four fours in his 31-ball 48 not out while Linde finished 23 not out from 11 balls with two sixes and one four as the duo put on 56 runs to help Spitfires post 184-4.

Essex Eagles took 16 off Joe Denly's opening over and were ahead of the required rate despite losing Adam Rossington for 29 - bowled by Fred Klaassen - in the fifth over. His 16-ball 29 included two sixes.

Michael Pepper (6) and opener Will Buttleman fell in quick succession as the spin duo of Qais Ahmad (1-24) and Linde (1-30) threatened to drag Spitfires back into the game.

Sam Billings top scored for Kent Spitfires with 48 not out, including three sixes. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Sam Billings top scored for Kent Spitfires with 48 not out, including three sixes. Picture: Barry Goodwin

But the runs continued to flow and Matt Critchley hit a couple of boundaries off Matt Milnes before he was bowled for 18 in 11 balls, Essex 112-4 in the 12th over.

Sams, horribly dropped by Matt Quinn off Ahmad on one, was tested by three short deliveries, the third he sent straight down Leaning at deep square leg to depart for just three, Spitfires back in the game at 120-5 in the 14th over.

But Paul Walter never looked troubled, his unbeaten 47 not out from 32 balls guiding Essex home, despite losing Tom Westley to a smart run out by Billings for 15. Harmer joined him at the close, hitting two boundaries in his 21 not out, as Essex got home with two balls to spare.

A crowd of 4,000 watched the action at Canterbury on Friday night. Picture: Barry Goodwin
A crowd of 4,000 watched the action at Canterbury on Friday night. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Kent travel to Hove on Sunday afternoon to take on Sussex Sharks in their third group game.

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