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Spitfires come out on top

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A career-best 94 off just 47 balls from Jordan Cox was the difference between the two sides as Kent Spitfires came out on top against Somerset by 32 runs in this Vitality Blast South Group clash at a sold out Cooper Associates County Ground.

Somerset won the toss on a sunny evening in front of over 6000 Members and supporters and elected to field.

Joe Denly and Tawanda Muyeye had taken the visitors to 13 without loss after three overs, when Craig Overton was introduced into the attack. Denly plundered five runs from the opening two balls and his opening partner then ramped the England man for a maximum. However, Overton wrestled the momentum back by taking two wickets with his next two balls.

Firstly, he took the pace off the ball beautifully and Muyeye was caught at cover by Tom Abell. Grant Stewart then top edged his first ball to Roelof van der Merwe who took a good catch running backwards. Suddenly, Kent were 24 for two.

Denly and Jordan Cox looked to accelerate the run rate and by the end of the six over powerplay the visitors were 46 for two. The pair continued to press forward and eventually shared a third wicket stand of 81 before Denly (41 from 36 balls) skied Overton to Tom Lammonby on the boundary in front of the Somerset Stand with the score on 105.

Cox then brought up his 50 from 29 balls, but when Sam Billings was bowled by van der Merwe whilst attempting a reverse sweep, the visitors were 117 for four in the 14th over.

In the 16th over Craig Overton dropped Alex Blake on the boundary in front of the Lord Botham Stand off Josh Davey but redeemed himself just two balls later by pouching the same batter, who went for 17 at 137 for five.

After 17 overs, Kent looked short of par on 148 for five. However, Cox then hit two sixes off Davey and in the same over, which cost 24, George Linde cleared the ropes.

Cox then hit three sixes in the same Green over to move within sight of a century, but the experienced Peter Siddle held his nerve to concede only five in a final over that saw the Spitfires top-scorer run-out attempting to keep the strike with a two to fine leg.

The hosts eventually finished on 202 for seven.

Somerset’s reply got off to a disappointing start when Will Smeed was bowled by Linde, but out marched Rilee Rossouw to smash two of the next three balls for six.

Tom Banton hit successive fours off Fred Klaassen in the third over, only to edge a catch behind off the final delivery to leave his side 25 for two. With only two runs added, off-spinner Jack Leaning bowled Rossouw, aiming a huge heave over the leg-side.

Abell reverse swept Leaning for four and six to take Somerset to 44 for three at the end of the powerplay, but Tom Lammonby then fell to the same shot, pinned lbw by Qais Ahmad.

Lewis Gregory dispatched the leg-spinner for two maximums before top-edging a catch to wicketkeeper Billings off Stewart and at halfway Somerset were 79 for five.

When Abell top-edged a pull off Klaassen to be caught at deep square and van der Merwe fell to a Billings catch, the hosts were in dire straits.

There was a moment of controversy when Green, on 25, appeared to be caught on the deep cover boundary by Leaning off Milnes, but the umpires judged his foot had touched the rope.

It mattered little as, despite Green’s best efforts, Kent’s bowlers closed out the game with Somerset finishing on 170 for nine.

At the close of play, Somerset Captain, Tom Abell said: “Every loss is disappointing. We’ve been playing really well in this competition and we came into tonight full of confidence. It was a good wicket but I think they got 20 more than they should of done. That meant that we needed to get off to a good start. We lost wickets, the rate kept going up and that’s when it becomes difficult.

“It’s a slight setback. We had one of those against Sussex and we have to learn from it and come back stronger. We’re still in a good position in the table, but we’re disappointed tonight.

“We didn’t get it quite right at the death tonight. That can happen in T20 cricket. They had two guys who got in and played really well and you have to give them credit for that. They’re a good side and are the current champions.

“It’s always tough when you lose wickets in the powerplay because you have to throw caution to the wind. Ultimately, they got too many runs for us tonight.

“We need to keep things in perspective now. We’re second in the table and we’ve played some good cricket. We know that we can do better than we have tonight and I know we’ll do that in the next game.”

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Next MatchSomerset V Derbyshire Falcons

09/07/2022 19:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground