Kent thrash Essex to go joint top
Kent moved into the joint leadership of the Twenty20 Cup Southern Division with Sunday’s emphatic 81-drubbing of Essex Eagles in a one-side clash in front of 6,000 in Beckenham.
Having posted 204, their best ever T20 total, Spitfires went on to dismiss the visitors for 123 with seven balls remaining to secure their fifth win in seven starts.
Essex, needing to score at 10.3 per over from ball one, were five wickets down within seven overs and never really looked capable of keeping up thereafter.
Mark Pettini (21) missed a cross batted smear against Yasir Arafat to lose his off stump, Alistair Cook (15) miscued a pull shot off namesake Simon Cook then Jason Gallian chanced a second to deep mid-wicket to be run out by man of the moment Joe Denly.
All-rounder Graham Napier then attempted to work Ryan McLaren’s first ball to the leg-side but spliced the ball low to Cook at mid-on.
Wicketkeeper James Foster (2) then nicked a catch to counterpart Geraint Jones, who was stood up to bowling of Simon Cook.
Ryan ten Doeschate hit out gamely to reach 22 but, in trying to clear the ropes picked out Justin Kemp at long off to give Cook final figures of 3-21.
In the next over James Middlebrook (2) went leg before when working to leg against Tredwell to make it 89-7.
Eagles’ last lingering hope went in the 14th over when Grant Flower missed a reverse sweep off Tredwell to go for 21, then the off-spinner had Danish Kaneria easily caught at mid-wicket to leave Tredwell with excellent figures of 3-17.
Kent made good use of a sublime pitch and sunny conditions to bat first and post 205-5, their highest ever Twenty20 Cup score.
Openers Rob Key and Denly, clearly loving the pace and bounce in this Beckenham pitch, rattled along at 11 an over in reaching 47 before Key picked out Mark at short mid-wicket to go for 25.
Martin van Jaarsveld (14), in aiming to leg, went leg before to the second ball of the day from ten Doeschate and Kent’s decision to promote Geraint Jones to bat at No4 failed when he ran himself out attempting a second run against Middlebrook’s throw from third man.
Though dropped by Alistair Cook off a steepling catch when on 47, Denly moved to his fifth 50 in seven Twenty20 ties from 39 balls and with seven fours and a six and celebrated that with a huge six over mid-wicket off Middlebrook, that also posted Kent's 100 in the 12th over.
Denly then moved into an even higher gear, racing to 91 from only 57 balls with nine fours and five sixes, three of them in an over from Kaneria but, in trying to clear the ropes again, the right-hander sliced to short third man where Cook this time accepted the chance.
Kemp (19) and Azhar Mahmood took up the big-hitting baton, Kemp taking 22 in an over off Napier but Kemp went to a leg-side stumping after missing an attempted slog-sweep off Kaneria.
Azhar, with an unbeaten 36 from 11 balls, finished a good job off excellently, clattering four and six off Middlebrook's last two balls of the innings to take Kent beyond 200 for the first time in the six-year history of the competition - it was also the highest T20 score Essex have ever conceded.