Darren Stevens played a starring role as Spitfires defeated Hampshire Hawks by eight runs. Picture: Matthew Walker
By Andrew Gidley
Darren Stevens smashed six sixes in a 27-ball 56 to continue his impressive Twenty20 campaign and see Kent Spitfires to an exciting eight-run win over Hampshire Hawks at Tunbridge Wells on Monday.
In the first-ever Twenty20 Cup game at the Nevill, Kent were keen to make a good start but the innings had stalled following the loss of Joe Denly, Martin Van Jaarsveld and Geraint Jones in the space of five overs that left them on 68-3. Stevens turned the tide with successive fours off Dominic Cork whose first over went for 13.
The fireworks really began two overs later when he hit Sean Ervine for three successive maximums, followed up with another off Cork and two more in the next over from Billy Taylor. Stevens was finally out to a brilliant running catch by ex-Kent man Michael Carberry on the deep cover boundary.
Out-of form skipper Rob Key boosted his confidence with an unbeaten 52 off 58 balls with six fours as Spitfires closed on 182-4.
Listen to Darren Stevens talking about the match to the KM Group's Andrew Gidley
In reply Hawks were ahead of the rate early on, thanks to Michael Lumb's 59 off 33 balls, before he and Jimmy Adams (11) fell in successive deliveries -the latter giving James Tredwell his 50th wicket in the competition.
However Carberry (39) and Chris Benham (36) added 72 in nine overs as Tredwell conceded 19 off his final over.
Ervine (13) then fell to a well judged catch by Justin Kemp at long-on, off Stevens, Carberry's stay ended when he was run-out by Van Jaarsveld, while Dmitri Mascarenhas (7) was defeated by Ryan McLaren's 50-yard throw leaving Hawks needing 14 to win off the last over.
McLaren bowled Benham first ball, skipper Nic Pothas was run-out for 1, and Kent were home to record their fourth win of the season and move up to second place in the South Division.
Stevens said: "I got in there against the spinner (Imran Tahir) and worked the ball around. That's my job, and then look to go big towards the end of the innings.
"Their bowlers got their lengths wrong, and a couple of full tosses got me going, and I kept striking it nicely after that. It was a great win, and the boys are flying."