Kent 228 for 3 (Bell-Drummond 111, Muyeye 50) Middlesex 173 (Hollman 48, Linde 3-21, Evison 3-25, Stewart 3-35) by 55 runs

A brilliant 111 from Daniel Bell-Drummond and a Grant Stewart hat-trick helped the Kent Spitfires to an emphatic 55-run win over Middlesex in the Vitality Blast at Canterbury.
Bell-Drummond’s joyous innings lasted 58 balls and included four sixes as for the second consecutive evening Middlesex shipped way in excess of 200. Kent posted 228 for 3, but having stunned Surrey with a Blast-record run chase the previous evening, this time Middlesex subsided to 173 all out, with George Linde and Joey Evison also claiming three wickets apiece. Luke Hollman was the visitors’ top scorer with 48 from 20 balls, but the required rate became unmanageable and they were all out with an over to spare.

The Spitfire Ground was sold out on a sweltering Friday night, with over 5,000 packed in to watch the hosts, resurgent after five consecutive wins, take on a Middlesex side who were still bottom of the South Group, despite Thursday night’s miracle.

An early chance went begging when Tawanda Muyeye, who was on 8, holed out to Toby Greatwood, only for Hollman to miss an over-the-shoulder catch. Muyeye smote the next ball for six and the openers put on a stand of 127 before he was bowled by Josh de Caires for 50.

The run-rate slowed slightly and Joe Denly was on 12 when Martin Andersson missed a difficult chance to catch him off Hollman, but it picked up again as Bell-Drummond reached his second Blast century with a classic cover drive for four off Greatwood and when Ryan Higgins’ 17th over only went for three it felt like a minor triumph for the visitors.

Bell-Drummond was one short of his best Blast score when he hoicked Max Harris to Jack Davies at square leg and he departed to a standing ovation.

Denly went for 30 driving Higgins to Andersson at long on but Sam Billings smashed 22 off the final over, meaning Middlesex had conceded exactly the same number of runs they did a week ago when Kent won the reverse fixture at Lord’s.

Hopes of a second miracle in 24 hours dimmed when the first three overs went for just six and Joe Cracknell swept Linde to Bell-Drummond in the fourth. Although Max Holden initially carried on where he had left off against Surrey, with 10 off his first two balls, he was bowled for 11, playing on to Evison.

Linde then took two wickets in the eighth over: Higgins played on to the first ball before John Simpson fell to a diving catch by Evison on the boundary. Stephen Eskinazi went for 32, flicking Evison to Grant Stewart and Davies rattled off a quick 24 before he was lbw to the same bowler.

Hollman and de Caires went down fighting, plundering 23 from Michael Hogan’s 14th over and putting on 60 for the seventh wicket, but a nightmarish 16th over for Stewart ended with Hollman caught in the deep by Jordan Cox off the tenth and final delivery.

At the start of his next over Stewart had de Caires caught on the boundary by Jack Leaning and the bowler’s redemption was complete when Harris was taken just inside the rope by Cox.

The rout was sealed when Greatwood chipped Agar to Evison and Kent, having seemed dead and buried little more than a fortnight ago, stand every chance of reaching the knock-out stages.


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