Kent crowned Vitality Blast champions 2021


A man of the match performance by Jordan Cox saw Kent Spitfires lift the 2021 Vitality Blast trophy following a 25 run win over Somerset at Edgbaston.

Cox finished on 58 not out from just 28 balls and took a stunning catch as Kent won their first T20 trophy since 2007.

After winning the toss, Somerset skipper Lewis Gregory again elected to bowl first and threw the new ball to Craig Overton and Josh Davey, who did so much damage in the opening overs against Hampshire Hawks in the semi-final.

The pair went wicketless in the first five overs and with the score at 40 without loss, Roelof van der Merwe was given the final over of the powerplay. The Somerset spinner made an immediate impact as Daniel Bell-Drummond pulled his second ball straight to Will Smeed at midwicket and then Joe Denly was dismissed by a stunning catch from Tom Abell off the very next ball. Abell ran 25 yards from mid-off to take a diving catch on the boundary and all of a sudden, Kent were 46 for two at the end of the powerplay.

Zak Crawley and Sam Billings brought up the Spitfires’ 50 in the seventh over, but the latter backed away and slapped van der Merwe straight to Gregory at extra cover as Kent slipped to 52 for three.

The score had reached 75 when Kent dangerman Zak Crawley pulled Lewis Goldsworthy to Tom Lammonby at deep midwicket to depart for 41 from 33 at 75 for four.

The Kent 100 arrived in the 15th over by which point van der Merwe had completed his four overs, finishing with three for 19.

Josh Davey returned to the attack for the 16th over and he outfoxed Jack Leaning (27) with the sixth ball. The Scotland international took the pace off the ball, dug it into the pitch and the batsman top edged to a back-pedaling Ben Green at backward square at 111 for five.

Jordan Cox and Darren Stevens upped the tempo for the Spitfires and took the score to 141 with a late flurry but Stevens was run out by Craig Overton in the 19th over.

In an eventful final over Grant Stewart was run out by Davey for two, Cox passed his 50 and the Spitfires finished on 167 for seven.

The Somerset reply got off to a bad start as both Banton and Goldsworthy fell in the opening two overs. However, Abell and Will Smeed got the innings back on track and at the end of the six-over powerplay, the score had progressed to 47 for two.

The pair added 58 for the third wicket until a thick edge from Abell (26 from 20) was caught by Fred Klaassen at backward point.

Kent felt that they had claimed the important wicket of Will Smeed in the 11th over, but their joy was short-lived. Smeed launched Denly to deep midwicket where Cox took a good catch, but he collided with Daniel Bell-Drummond who slid over the boundary rope. After a lengthy consultation, the umpires awarded six runs.

However, the Spitfires didn’t have long to wait to remove Smeed. Just three balls later, a Denly full toss was hit to Cox at deep midwicket, and the 19-year-old opener had to go for 43 from 32 balls with Somerset on 79 for four.

Further drama followed in the 13th over when Lammonby was adjudged lbw to Denly for nine. Replays and ball tracker indicated that the ball was in fact missing.

If Lammonby’s dismissal was controversial, the catch that accounted for Gregory (6) was simply sensational. The Somerset skipper launched the ball towards the Hollies Stand and it looked like a certain maximum. However, Cox had other ideas. He leapt over the boundary rope on the run and palmed it back to Matt Milnes who took the catch. Both sets of supporters applauded a remarkable moment.

94 for six soon became 95 for seven when van der Merwe launched a wide full toss from Qais Ahmed to Denly at short cover.

Overton and Green took Somerset to three figures in the 16th over but the former departed for 13 at 113 for eight.

Somerset eventually finished on 142 for nine.

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