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Kent comeback stuns Sussex

Kent produced a stunning fightback to halt Sussex's early onslaught and put them on course to set up a battle of the underdogs in tonight's Twenty20 Cup final.

Having watched Gloucestershire put out favourites Lancashire in the opening semi-final at Edgbaston with a convincing eight-wicket victory, Kent found inspiration and dismissed Sussex's array of strokemakers for a lowly 140.

Sussex looked on course to claim only the second score over 200 ever at Edgbaston in the Twenty20 format when they raced to 59 without loss from their opening five overs after winning the toss and deciding to bat.

Openers Chris Nash and Murray Goodwin took full advantage of some wayward early bowling from Sri Lankan recruit Lasith Malinga and Yasir Arafat.

But a sudden collapse of nine wickets for 59 runs in 58 balls through a combination of accurate bowling and brilliant fielding gave Kent a golden opportunity of reaching tonight's final.

Nash was the first to fall when he top-edged South African all-rounder Ryan McLaren high in the air having hammered 27 off only 16 balls to give Sussex a flying start.

England hopeful Luke Wright, who is awaiting Monday's announcement of the final squad for the ICC World Twenty20 tournament with interest, would have hoped to have impressed the selectors with another strong display.

Instead, Wright accelerated Sussex's demise when he top-edged an attempted pull facing off-spinner James Tredwell and was caught at short third man for three.

But it was a hat-trick of run-outs which completed Sussex's demise with Goodwin, who had progressed to 38 off 35 balls, being run out going for a two when he was beaten by a throw from Kent captain Robert Key from backward point.

Matt Prior was caught in the deep two overs later and then Kent claimed two run-outs in the same over with Chris Adams brilliantly run out by McLaren at short mid-wicket and then Robin Martin-Jenkins failing to beat Tredwell's direct throw from mid-on to the non-striker's end as he attempted to steal a single.

Having slumped to 102 for six with all their specialist batsmen out, Sussex needed their lower order to bail them out of trouble but instead lost their last four wickets in the final six overs and were limited to only 31 runs in the final five overs of the innings.

Earlier, Craig Spearman hit a brilliant 86 to help Gloucestershire storm into the Twenty20 Cup final after Lancashire continued their desperate run of semi-final failures.

Tournament favourites Lancashire slumped to an eight-wicket defeat in the opening match of Twenty20 finals day at Edgbaston after being limited to a modest score of 148 for six, which Gloucestershire passed with ease with 19 balls to spare.

It was Lancashire's eighth semi-final defeat in all one-day competitions in eight seasons - during which time they have also lost two limited-overs finals.

The England pair Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson returned to the Lancashire ranks but New Zealand-born Spearman launched into the star-studded line-up.

He hit eight fours and four sixes in his superb 54-ball innings and guided Gloucestershire to an emphatic triumph.

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source - sportinglife.com

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