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Blake stars in Spitfires success

Alex Blake hit a timely 41 off 30 balls to rescue the Kent Spitfires innings and inspire them to a 21-run win over Gloucestershire in their NatWest T20 Blast match at Canterbury.

The hosts were rocking at 63 for four when Blake came to the crease and soon slipped to 74 for five in the 12th over of the South Division clash.

But the 25-year-old hit five fours and a six as he compiled a career-best T20 score, guiding the hosts to a healthier-looking 136 for seven before being stumped off the last ball.

Adam Riley then did huge damage with the ball, the spinner tearing through Gloucestershire's top order with figures of 4-22 before Doug Bollinger ended any hopes of a late rally with 2-15.

After electing to bat, Kent's top order struggled to build on promising starts.

Openers Daniel Bell-Drummond and Rob Key made 11 and 24 respectively before being stopped in their tracks, the captain looking in good touch with two fours and a six in his 21-ball knock before it was ended by Tom Smith. 

The innings looked set to unravel when Kent lost Sam Northeast for 17 and Sam Billings for a duck to go from 61 for two to 63 for four.

Benny Howell, who finished with 3-21, removed Billings caught and bowled and also bowled Darren Stevens for 21 to leave Kent five wickets down.

But Blake put on 38 for the sixth wicket with Adam Ball and stuck around to the end before being stumped by Cameron Herring off Graeme McCarter, who also finished with three victims.

Mitchell Claydon got the breakthrough for Kent after a frustrating start, having Chris Dent caught well by Billings.

From then it was Riley who took centre stage, striking with his second ball to trap Michael Klinger lbw for 25.

The young spinner dismissed Alex Gidman, Ian Cockbain and Hamish Marshall, who top-scored for his side with 26 off 20, to leave Gloucestershire at 82 for six in the 16th over.

Marshall's dismissal all but ended Gloucestershire's hopes, which were killed off by two late wickets from Bollinger as the visitors were limited to 115 for nine.

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