Azhar Mahmood hits out against Derbyshire Picture: Barry Goodwin
by Andrew Gidley
Kent Spitfires' Clydesdale Bank 40 season ended with a three-wicket last-over defeat against Derbyshire Falcons at Canterbury on Monday.
Peter Burgoyne hit the winning boundary off Azhar Mahmood, after surviving a close run-out the ball before, as his side completed the double over the Spitfires. The victory, with three balls to spare, enabled Drbyshire to pip Kent to third place in Group A.
The teams were packed with spinners, with Kent fielding four and Derbyshire five. The two sides aimed to exploit a slow turning Canterbury track which was emphasised by the fact Wes Durston and Martin van Jaarsveld were given the new ball for their respective counties.
The game may not have had the noise and colour of Friday night's weather reduced shoot-out against India, but served up another tight finish for a good-sized Bank Holiday crowd at St Lawrence.
The Falcons finished on 211-7, after being set 209 to win. They timed their run chase well, led by skipper Wayne Madsen who hit 64 off 69 balls, before he fell to a return catch by Adam Riley.
Derbyshire reduced their target to 15 off the final three overs, before Matt Coles held a skier from Jon Clare (19) off Mahmood and picked up Ross Whiteley (40) to a fine low catch by Martin Van Jaarsveld with four needed.
Mahmood's 68, his season's best in the competition, was the highlight of Kent's 208-9.
It was his second successive half-century, following up his 58 in the win against Sussex at Hove the previous week, but he would have been disappointed with the way his 93-ball knock ended when he clipped Tony Palladino into the hands of Clare at backward point. He hit five fours.
Stand-in skipper Geraint Jones included two neat reverse sweeps for four and a chip over mid-off for another boundary in his 34 off 30 balls, before being adjudged leg before.
Firm hitting by Coles and Adam Ball pushed the Kent total past 200. The latter was dropped in the deep in the last over, before Coles fell last ball, giving Palladino figures of 4-32.
Earlier, Joe Denly looked set to follow up his impressive hundred against India on Friday. He struck Durston for a straight six and clubbed Clare for four only to fall two balls later for 35.