Rob Key led the way with a buccaneering innings of 144 not out as Kent Spitfires maintained their challenge in Group A of the Yorkshire Bank 40 with an eight-wicket thrashing of the Netherlands on day one of the 101st Tunbridge Wells festival week.The visitors looked to have posted a competitive total when reaching 249 for five. However, Kent made short work of the target to earn an important victory 24 hours after they had thrown away the chance of beating Sussex Sharks at Horsham in a nervy run-chase. There was no mistake this time as Key, with the support of Sam Northeast and Brendan Nash, made sure of Kent's fourth win in six matches.The former skipper dominated an opening stand of 115 with Northeast, who chopped on to slow left-armer Pieter Seelaar for 35 in the 18th over, and was then joined by Nash in a further partnership worth 89 in 13 overs.
Nash hit six fours in a 38-ball 57 and Kent had already gone past 200 in the 30th over when he skied a catch to mid-on facing Michael Swart's darting off-breaks.
Key stayed to the end, clubbing Ahsan Malik for six wide of long-on and also contributing 19 fours in a 121-ball knock that represents his highest List A score and the seventh one-day century of his career. The Dutch batted well after Peter Borren, their captain, had won the toss on a sunny but breezy day at the Nevill Ground.A home crowd of more than 2,000 watched with increasing anxiety as the Netherlands steadily accelerated their scoring rate, reaching 150 in the 28th over before taking the attack to the Kent bowlers. Wesley Barresi and Tom Cooper both hit assured fifties in a third-wicket stand of 95 in 19 overs and, when they were out, Dom Michael struck three sixes and four fours in an unbeaten 51, his second half-century in as many days.Michael was supported by Daan van Bunge and Borren in a burst of productive late hitting that exposed Kent's lack of experienced 'death' bowlers. The Netherlands' innings had begun badly, with Michael Swart under-edging an intended pull against Matt Coles into his stumps and Stephan Myburgh falling lbw to Calum Haggett, who replaced the injured Mark Davies in the Kent line-up. Barresi and Cooper then rebuilt the innings, reaching half-centuries from 59 and 58 balls respectively, before Barresi was bowled by a ball from off-spinner Adam Riley that kept low. He made 69 from 83 balls, with nine fours, and Cooper soon followed for 54, caught by wicketkeeper Geraint Jones from a James Tredwell arm ball. A brilliant sprawling catch by Adam Ball, running around from short third man to take a swirling top-edge off a short ball from Coles, ended Van Bunge's bright 28, but Michael and Borren plundered 51 from the last 4.2 overs of the innings.