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Billings powers Spitfires to semi-finals

Watch highlights of Kent's win

Sam Billings' thrilling 61 off 36 balls inspired Kent Spitfires to victory against Gloucestershire by 24 runs in the Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-final at the Spitfire Ground.

Sam Northeast and Fabian Cowdrey also made half-centuries to set the platform for Billings, who provided crucial acceleration in the hosts' eventual 242 all out from 48.3 overs.

Cowdrey then took 2-28 with his left-arm spin as Gloucestershire struggled to 218 all out from 47.3 overs in reply on a turgid, grassless pitch that made fluent strokeplay difficult, as Kent earned a semi-final away to Warwickshire.

Chris Dent made an entertaining 40 and Gareth Roderick 43 as Gloucestershire made a good start, but they struggled when pace was taken off the ball and the innings faltered.

Sam Billings, who has been in sparkling form in the Royal London One-Day Cup and boasts an average of over 100, goes aerial during his 61

Will Gidman and Benny Howell threatened with a partnership of 53 for the seventh wicket but a David Griffiths yorker in the 39th over bowled Gidman for 39, leaving Gloucestershire 178 for seven and with too much to do in the last 10 overs.

Jack Taylor looked as though he might steal a dramatic win but when he became Ben Harmison’s third victim the game was all but over.

Billings’ innings proved the difference between the sides. He struck three sixes and seven fours to dominate a match-turning stand of 82 in eight overs with Northeast, whose 123-ball 78, with six fours, anchored Kent's innings after an indifferent start.

Rob Key and Harmison both fell early on to David Payne, who took 5-44, but Cowdrey joined Northeast for a third-wicket stand of 106 that gave Kent a platform for the acceleration that came so dramatically later on.

Kent Spitfires celebrate after David Payne was dismissed to give Rob Key's men a first semi-final appearance since 2009

Cowdrey's 51 from 68 balls, with five fours, ended with a leading edge to short extra-cover off Will Gidman in the 29th over, and Stevens holed out to long-on for 12 in the 35th over after Kent opted to take their batting powerplay at 127 for three from 32 overs.

Billings, however, took two fours from the powerplay's last two balls, bowled by Payne, and this was the start of a magnificent display of clean hitting by the Kent wicketkeeper-batsman, who took his run-tally in this year's Royal London One-Day Cup to 418 from just six innings as he raised his fifty in just 29 balls.

Kent's lower order, though, fell away alarmingly, leaving nine balls unbowled and the team short of the 250 which had looked on the cards.

Billings said afterwards: "It's nice to contribute and for us to get over the line. Gloucestershire hung in there, and fair play to them for that. It got a bit twitchy towards the end.

"The new regulations, with one less fielder outside the ring, does give you more options as a batsman and it's just about backing yourself to take those options."

Kent captain Key added: "Away to Warwickshire is a chance to play at one of the great grounds in England, and at this stage of the competition they are all good sides. It will be an excellent opportunity for all our young players.

"We held our nerve well today, but it was a fairly stodgy pitch that was not easy to bat on."

Gloucestershire skipper Alex Gidman acknowledged his team had fallen a little short with the bat.

"We thought we had a good chance of chasing down that total, but Billings played a fine knock for them and we didn't have anyone who could match the two innings that he and Sam Northeast played," he said.

Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final draw

Warwickshire v Kent Spitfires, Edgbaston, Thursday 4 September, 2pm

Durham v Notts Outlaws, Emirates Durham ICG, Saturday 6 September, 10.30am

By Callum Dent & Will Jackson

Follow ECB_cricket on Twitter  / Scorecard

9.20pm - Thanks folks. It's been emotional. Until next time! (Match report to follow).

9.15pm - So there we have it, Kent will travel to Edgbaston to face the NatWest T20 Blast champions, while the in-form Notts Outlaws will face a trip to Durham.

8.57pm - We will be bringing you the draw for the semi-finals when they take place on TV shortly.

Gloucestershire Innings   

8.51pm - Kent win by 24 runs! Payne b Griffiths 0; Gloucs 218 all out - Griffiths wraps it up with an excellent yorker and that's game, set and match to Rob Key's Spitfires. They're through to the semi-finals!

8.47pm - WICKET! Howell b Claydon 33; Gloucs 217/9 - Howell is almost caught by the sprawling Harmison on the boundary, but he goes two balls later as he takes an almighty swipe at Claydon and has his stumps rearranged. That could be curtains for the visitors...

8.42pm - Great shot by the number 10 Craig Miles! Chipped over mid-off for four. Looks like he's no mug with the bat, but he'll need a few more of those. 34 needed from 25.

8.36pm - WICKET! Taylor c Billings b Harmison 16; Gloucs 204/8 - Taylor looked dangerous after a couple of boundaries but Harmison gets his third wickets as he wafts outside off stump. Big blow. Could it all be on Howell to win this?

8.25pm - So far in this innings Jack Taylor has given the impression that he doesn't know one end of the bat from the other. He has form however and he's just smashed Riley straight over his head for six. What a shot that was.

48 needed from 48, with three wickets left.

8.13pm - WICKET! Gidman b Griffiths 39; Gloucs 178/7 - Big, big wicket for Kent. Griffiths had bowled three consecutive wides but finally gets one right, and the yorker sneaks under Gidman's bat as Kent take control once again.

8.10pm - FIFTY PARTNERSHIP! The two Gloucestershire men are batting really well here. Are the visitors marginal favourites? It's a nipper for sure and it could go right to the wire. 68 runs needed.

7.59pm - It's unspectacular from Gidman and Benny Howell but they're doing okay here, the longer this partnership goes on the more uncomfortable the Spitfires will feel.

7.54pm - The rain isn't threatening, but it's worth keeping an eye on the Duckworth/Lewis par score, and at the moment they're a long way behind. D/L says 174 but Gloucestershire are on 153 as the batting powerplay is taken after 35 overs.

7.33pm - WICKET! Roderick c Stevens b Harmison 43; Gloucs 125/6 - I was just about to say Gloucestershire are in trouble if the rains arrives, and Gareth Roderick has just made it even worse. Perhaps recognising the need for some quick runs, he has sliced one horribly up into the swirling wind, and Stevens takes a good catch.

7.27pm - The Kent spinners have collectively bowled 10 overs for just 39 runs, whilst picking up three wickets. The batsmen are going to have to find a way of scoring against them if they are to take this game close. 

7.22pm - Will Gidman finally gets a boundary away, and that's the first for more than five overs. If these two can build a partnership they will still be in a good position. 126 needed.

7.08pm - WICKET! Gidman c Stevens b Cowdrey 4; 101/5 - It's all Kent at the moment and Gloucestershire are going nowhere as Alex Gidman eventually gets bogged down and chips tamely to Stevens. A lot of soft dismissals in this innings so far.

6.54pm - WICKET! Marshall c & b Riley 0; Gloucs 87/4 - Hamish Marshall goes first ball! Trying to flick away to midwicket, the New Zealander gets a horrible leading edge that loops straight back to Adam Riley. What a turnaround! 

6.51pm - WICKET! Cockbain b Stevens 3; Gloucs 86/3 - Gloucestershire are struggling now as Ian Cockbain drags a short, wide ball from Darren Stevens onto his stumps.

6.44pm - WICKET! Dent lbw b Cowdrey 40; Gloucs 74/2 - The introduction of spin has worked for Kent, with the two batsmen getting tied down before the dangerous-looking Dent misses a straight ball and is given out leg before. All-square again.

6.29pm - The visitors have reached 55 for one despite that wicket, and that is an excellent start on what was considered a slow and turgid deck during the early part of the Kent innings. 

6.22pm - WICKET! Tavare c Riley b Harmison 19; Gloucs 46/1 - It's a big breakthrough for Kent as Tavare tries to go over the top to Ben Harmison's second ball and can only get a toe-end to mid-on.

6.15pm - The two openers have made their intentions clear and the Spitfires are already looking a bit dejected in the field as Dent smashes another fantastic shot over the cover ropes.

6.09pm - Chris Dent advances down the wicket to Claydon and spanks a glorious first six of the innings over the bowler's head. It's been a good start by the visitors, who are 27 without loss in the fifth over. 

6.01pm - There's been a couple of early shouts against Will Tavare but both have been turned down; a good start by Mitch Claydon.

5.47pm - The Gloucestershire innings is about to get under way. They're chasing 243 for a place in the semi-finals of the Royal London One-Day Cup. It should be a cracker.

Kent Spitfires Innings 

5.10pm - ALL OUT! Riley c Gidman b Payne 0; 242 all out - Payne grabs a five-for as Adam Riley chips tamely to cover to complete a miserable final ten overs for the Spitfires.

5.07pm - WICKET! Claydon b Miles 9; Kent 241/9 - Mitch Claydon muscles one over midd-off for a welcome boundary but is bowled next ball, as Miles claims his third with an excellent slower ball.

5.02pm - Kent are scampering as many singles as they can but look set to fall just short of the 250 they would have hoped for. It should be a very challenging total though

4.53pm - WICKET! Blake lbw Howell 4; Kent 226/7 - Three quick wickets now as Gloucestershire fight their way back into the game with some excellent death bowling. Full and straight and Alex Blake is trapped in front.

4.45pm - WICKET! Billings lbw Miles 61; Kent 222/6 - Billings creams another reverse-sweep to the boundary but is gone next over, as he tries to walk across the stumps but a full ball from Miles raps him on the pads and he's given out. What a great innings that was, but the Kent momentum has evaporated.

4.38pm - WICKET! Northeast b Miles 78; Kent 215/4 - Northeast swings across the line at a ball that keeps low and is bowled by Miles. The opener has held the innings together superbly. 

4.35pm - FIFTY! Billings (29b 5x4 3x6) - Billings advances down the track and cracks a Miles full-toss through the covers for four. This is some innings. He is providing the Spitfires with the impetus they need.

4.32pm - This is a fine cameo from Billings, who crunches Jack Taylor for his third six, over mid-off, and then reverse-sweeps the spinner for four. Kent have 200 on the board with eight overs remaining. How many will they get?

4.28pm - Billings goes on the attack and lifts Dent for the first six of the innings. Kent need more of them! And that is what they get as the right-hander, giving himself room, blasts another maximum in the over. 

4.23pm - Chris Dent has a huge lbw appeal turned down against Billings on the sweep. Cockbain then gifts Northeast four by tamely letting the ball through his legs on the midwicket boundary. That was sloppy. 

4.17pm - Billings backs away and flicks Payne behind square for four before finding the mid-on rope next ball. Kent are upping the tempo. 

4.11pm - Northeast and Sam Billings, two of the Spitfires' impressive performers in this competition this term, are charged with the task of lifting their side to a commanding total. Kent are 140 for four with 15 overs remaining. 

4.01pm - WICKET! Stevens c Cockbain b Payne 12; Kent 133/4 - It was slow going for   Stevens and Northeast, who added 16 in five overs. The former then tried to up the ante, only to find Ian Cockbain at cow corner and hand Payne a third scalp. 

3.46pm - Darren Stevens clobbers Will Gidman to the midwicket boundary. Kent will be hoping for a big innings from the veteran today. 

3.39pm - WICKET! Cowdrey c A Gidman b W Gidman 51; Kent 117/3 - Will Gidman makes the breakthrough as Cowdrey's leading edge is gobbled up by his brother Alex at cover. 

3.36pm - CENTURY PARTNERSHIP! - Cowdrey collects a single that takes his stand with Northeast into three figures. Gloucestershire need a wicket. 

3.33pm - FIFTY! Cowdrey (66b 5x4 0x6) - Cowdrey reaches the milestone in 18 balls fewer than Northeast. The youngsters are complimenting each other perfectly. 

3 .31pm - FIFTY! Northeast (84b 5x4 0x6) - Northeast wins the race to a half-century by crashing Gidman past mid-off for another boundary. 

3.15pm - Cowdrey is almost run out when he is sent back by Northeast, but Roderick fails to hit the stumps. The Kent opener then whips Miles through midwicket for four. 

3.12pm - REVIEW! -  Northeast is home just before Craig Miles takes off the bails at the non-striker's end. 

2.56pm - Northeast opens his shoulders and lofts a straight drive over mid-off for four off Howell. The hosts are 56 for two from 16 overs. This is a solid recovery from Northeast and Cowdrey. 

2.46pm - Cowdrey races into the twenties by tickling Benny Howell, in his second over after replacing Gidman, to the vacant fine-leg rope.  

2.32pm - Cowdrey replicates his team-mate's shot from the previous Gidman over and then drives the same bowler through the covers next ball. 

2.26pm - Northeast drives Will Gidman down the ground for a welcome four. This is tough work for the Spitfires batsmen.

2.20pm - Payne's hat-trick ball just misses the outside edge of Fabian Cowdrey's bat. What a start for Gloucestershire! 

2.19pm - WICKET! Harmison lbw Payne 0; Kent 11/2 - Ben Harmison is rapped on the pads first ball by Payne, who is now on a hat-trick. 

2.16pm - WICKET! Key c Roderick b Payne 2; Kent 11/1 - Rob Key tries an ambitious pull at a short Payne ball and gets a top edge through to wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick. 

2.15pm - Sam Northeast clips Payne through midwicket for the first four of the innings.

2.03pm - David Payne, fresh from signing a new contract with Gloucestershire yesterday, concedes just one from a steady opening over.  

Pre-Play News

Kent Spitfires: Sam Northeast, Rob Key (capt), Ben Harmison, Fabian Cowdrey, Darren Stevens, Alex Blake, Sam Billings, Adam Ball, Mitchell Claydon, David Griffiths, Adam Riley.

Gloucestershire:  Chris Dent, Will Tavare, Alex Gidman (capt), Hamish Marshall, Ian Cockbain, Benny Howell, Will Gidman, Gareth Roderick, Jack Taylor, Craig Miles, David Payne. 

1.42pm - TOSS! - Kent win the toss and opt to bat.

1.40pm - While we wait for team news and details of the toss, why not read our preview of today's match?

1.30pm - Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of the final Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-final between Kent Spitfires and Gloucestershire at the Spitfire Ground. Who will join Notts Outlaws, Warwickshire and Durham in the last four? 

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