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New Zealand enjoy emphatic win

New Zealand warmed up for their two Twenty20 internationals against England next week with an emphatic 42-run win over Kent under lights in Canterbury.

Chasing New Zealand's total of 185 for seven, Kent fell well short of their target despite a poor fielding performance by the tourists who dropped two catches and missed three run-out opportunities.

Kent made a decent start to their pursuit in front of a partisan crowd of 4,000 through young openers Sam Billings and Daniel Bell-Drummond.

The pair added 26 before Billings miscued a pull against former Kent seamer Ian Butler high into the hands of Nathan McCullum at mid-off.

Fresh from a maiden one-day hundred against Sussex Sharks on Wednesday, Kent's acting skipper Sam Northeast had reached only two when he advanced looking to force left-arm spinner Ronnie Hira only to be bowled.

Kent's other midweek century-maker Darren Stevens was dropped when on four at deep midwicket, then again on six at mid-off, as early attempts to up the tempo misfired.

At the mid-point Kent, who rested six first-team regulars, were hopelessly behind the asking rate at 56 for two.

With a further 130 required from 60 balls, Stevens teed off by hitting Colin Munro for six into the Frank Woolley Stand.

Four balls later, however, Bell-Drummond perished to a skier at midwicket when attempting a similar shot, then Ben Harmison was caught behind by a tumbling Brendon McCullum having made room to cut a short one from Doug Bracewell.

On 41, Stevens was bowled trying to heave a Corey Anderson free-hit out of the park, but his luck ran out on the very next delivery that was miscued to mid-off.

With the contest as good as over, Fabian Cowdrey, the grandson of former Kent and England skipper Colin and son of Chris Cowdrey, marched in for his first-team debut and showed immediate class with a ramp over fine-leg for four against Butler.

Cowdrey finished unbeaten on 20, but Butler hit back by having Alex Blake caught at mid-off to finish with 2-28 as Kent lost Matt Coles to a final-over run-out to finish well short of their target.

New Zealand coped with bad light, rain and a 5-31 haul by Kent's on-loan Durham seamer Mitchell Claydon to set the hosts a daunting target of 186 at 9.3 an over.

The tourists, who play England twice at the Kia Oval next week, named a strong side for this dress rehearsal, but were made to recover from a poor start at nine for two.

Kent, who rested six of their first-team regulars, were captained for the first time by opener Northeast who invited the Black Caps to bat first in murky conditions.

Off-spinner Adam Riley opened the bowling and made an immediate impact from the Pavilion End by snaring Hamish Rutherford leg before for a duck with the third delivery of the match.

Visiting skipper Brendon McCullum struck one boundary in his brief stay before shuffling half-forward to go leg before to Claydon's shooting off-cutter.

New Zealand regrouped through experienced third-wicket partners Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill who both reached half-centuries in adding 98 in 11.1 overs.

Taylor's 37-ball stay for 52 ended when he edged an attempted drive against Matt Coles into the gloves of Billings, Kent's stand-in wicketkeeper.

Guptill's half-century came from 39 balls but, with his score on 56, a well-timed short-arm jab against Claydon flew into the hands of Harmison at long-on to end a stand of 51 in four overs.

Tom Latham blasted 38 from 18 balls before his attempted run down to third man against Claydon found the outside edge through to the keeper.

Then, in Claydon's final over of the innings, Corey Anderson miscued an attempted ramp shot over short third man to be caught at backward point then, three balls later, Nathan McCullum was bowled around his legs to give Australian-born Claydon the second five-wicket haul of his 67-match Twenty20 career.

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