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Leicestershire Foxes beat Kent Spitfires by four wickets in t20 quarter-final

Martin van Jaarsveld
Martin van Jaarsveld

Kent's Martin van Jaarsveld on his way to a quickfire half-century against Leicestershire Foxes on Saturday Picture: Ady Kerry

By Andrew Gidley

Kent Spitfires' hopes of a fourth appearance in t20 finals day ended in huge disappointment after they lost to Leicestershire Foxes by three wickets with four balls to spare at Grace Road.

They looked in the driving seat after amassing an impressive 203-3, thanks to a record breaking third-wicket stand of 130 in 63 balls between Azhar Mahmood (91) and Martin van Jaarsveld (63 not out), but it all proved in vain as Foxes scored their highest total in the competition batting second.

Erratic bowling proved Kent's downfall, despite defending a seemingly huge target. They conceded 11 wides with Wahab Riaz sending down five, including four in a row in his first over, and batting hero Mahmood four.

Matt Boyce hit the winning runs off Riaz, after local hero Paul Nixon was bowled off the first ball of the last over for 31 off only 17 runs, the win extending his career for three weeks, after he announced his retirement earlier this week.

The Spitfires bowlers struggled from the start, and the Foxes were ahead of the required rate when another shower drove the players off with the home side 64-2 after five overs.

Charl Langeveldt had Foxes opener Josh Cobb held off a skier by Adam Ball, and then Mahmood, who conceded three wides in his second over, made amends by trapping Will Jefferson leg before in the fifth.

Jacques Du Toit carried the home side beyond the score needed to win a rain-reduced contest. Play resumed but Riaz then bowled four consecutive wides in his first over, before Ball claimed Du Toit for 24, held at short third man by James Tredwell.

England prospect James Taylor was third out at 124, for 22, held by Langeveldt in the deep off Darren Stevens, but not before third umpire Neil Mallender spent three minutes deciding if it was legitimate. Stevens bowled skipper Andrew McDonald for 53 to finish with 2-26 in his four overs.

Van Jaarsveld and Mahmood earlier helped Spitfres prosper with some controlled and destructive hitting, in an innings containing 21 fours and six sixes.

Joe Denly went early, and a rain stoppage at 32-1 didn't help Kent. Skipper Rob Key hit two fours and a six his 28 before being run-out at the non-striker's end.

Mahmood hit 91 off 52 balls including nine fours and four sixes, while van Jaarsveld hit 63 off 32 balls including nine fours and a six, beating their previous stand made against Surrey at Beckenham in June.

Sadly it was all vain, with Kent's challenge for silverware over - even before the start of Canterbury Week.

Match scorecard: click here

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