Surrey 159 for 6 (Curran 43) beat Kent 127 for 9 (Denly 44, Topley 3-24) by 32 runs
Reigning Vitality Blast champions Kent Spitfires continued their abject title defence title with a 32-run defeat to Surrey at Canterbury.
Spitfires have now lost all five of their Blast matches this season and after limiting Surrey to 159 for 6, they slumped to 127 for 9 in reply. It was a comprehensive and fully deserved win for the visitors, who smothered Kent’s run chase and shared the wickets around, with all six bowlers claiming at least one victim.
Reece Topley had Surrey’s best figures with 3 for 24, while Chris Jordan took 2 for 27. Joe Denly made 44 for Kent, but lacked any real support during an increasingly doomed run chase.
Sam Curran was Surrey’s top-scorer with 43 while Jamie Overton added 27 at the death to tilt the momentum in the visitors’ favour. Fred Klaassen took 2 for 41 and Grant Stewart 2 for 42, but both men should have had more wickets as an improved fielding performance by Kent was still marred by a number of drops.
Without a win all season in any format, and with their confidence drained by four incrementally depressing defeats in the Blast, Kent looked sharper in the field than have at times this season, but after winning the toss and choosing to bowl they still allowed the visitors 10-20 more runs than they might had if they’d taken their catches.
Will Jacks fell for 2 in the second over, an ugly swipe off Klaassen flying almost vertically off the top edge before it was caught by Denly. Jason Roy made 23 before he was bowled by Grant Stewart, while Curran, who’d offered Sam Billings a difficult chance off Qais Ahmad when he was on 35, misjudged a sweep shot and was caught by Klaassen off Matt Milnes.
Sunil Narine hit the first six of the innings when he pulled Stewart over the square leg boundary at the start of the 14th over, but as Surrey looked to accelerate, Laurie Evans was lbw to a Klassen yorker for 19 and Narine hit Stewart to Denly at long-on. Stewart was denied a third wicket when Jordan Clark was dropped by Jack Leaning, who may have been distracted by the inrushing Denly.
Overton smacked Klaassen for successive sixes in the final over and was then dropped by Daniel Bell-Drummond before he was run out for 27 by Billings, chasing a single off the final ball of the innings.
The chase got off to a rocky start when Bell-Drummond flicked Clark to Narine at short fine leg for just 3 in the second over and Daniel Worrall then had Jordan Cox caught behind for 2. Billings holed out to Overton and was caught for 16 by Jacks ,and Alex Blake was out for the same score when he pulled Jordan to Clark. When Narine tempted Jack Leaning to swish a delivery to Jordan for just 1, Kent were 75 for 5 in the 14th over.
With five overs left the rate had climbed to 15 and with no choice but to go down swinging, George Linde was out for 13 to a brilliant piece of fielding by Jordan. Linde drove Topley to the boundary, but Jordan threw the ball in the air before stepping over the boundary and stepping back in again to complete the catch.
Supporters were leaving in their droves well before the end and although they missed some late pyrotechnics from Stewart, who hit sixes from successive Topley deliveries, he was out for 17 when he skied to Jamie Smith behind the stumps. Denly fell in almost identical fashion to the final ball of the 19th, leaving Kent needing an impossible 42 from the final six balls. Ahmad was caught by Evans of Jordan for 5 but by then it was academic.