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Kent Spitfires suffer narrow defeat to Essex Eagles in Friends Life t20

Rob Key bowled against Essex
Rob Key bowled against Essex

Rob Key bowled by David Masters for five Picture: Barry Goodwin

Kent Spitfires suffered a dramatic three-run defeat against Essex in Friends Life t20 South at Chelmsford on Wednesday night.

Mark Davies gave Kent a perfect start, accounting for Mark Pettini, however James Franklin (39) and Graham Napier (20) led the recovery before James Foster made a swashbuckling 51 off 27 balls - including four sixes and two fours.

He eventually fell to Matt Coles in an over which saw the Kent man go for 24 runs, including eight off a single delivery when a no-ball was despatched for six.

After piling on 53 runs in the final four overs, Essex posted 158-6, with Coles claiming 2-46 in his four overs.

Former Kent bowler David Masters accounted for Rob Key (5) and Azhar Mahmood (0) in successive deliveries as Kent reached 61-2 at the halfway stage.

However Sam Billings amassed a fine 59 off 55 balls, and shared a stand of 54 in seven overs with Brendan Nash (26) as Kent reached 118-3 at the start of the 17th over before proceeding to lose their last seven wickets for the addition of 37 runs.

Medium-pacer Greg Smith was the tormentor in chief, claiming 5-17 including the scalps of Billings and Nash in consecutive balls.

Sam Northeast clubbed two sixes to keep the visitors in touch and Kent were boosted by a six-run penalty against the hosts for a slow over rate.

Kent needed 17 off the final over, and a six from Adam Ball gave them hope, however needing four from the final delivery, last-man Davies was bowled by Napier.

It was just the second defeat of the season in all competitions for Jimmy Adams’ men, while it was the first t20 win of the year for Essex.

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