Spitfires shoot down Surrey
Kent got off the mark in the Friends Life t20 South Group with a convincing eight-wicket victory over Surrey, who lost for the first time at Beckenham.
Led by captain Rob Key, who hit an unbeaten 51, and Darren Stevens, whose 43 not out came off just 25 balls and included four sixes, the hosts cantered home with 22 deliveries to spare after Surrey could only muster 116 for seven in their 20 overs.
Surrey elected to bat, but struggled to make any real impression against a skilful Kent attack.
Had Gary Wilson, with an unbeaten 53 off 43 deliveries, not been dropped twice the visitors’ card would have made for even more depressing reading.
Jason Roy slapped the first ball of the match to extra-cover where Key took the catch and, three overs later, Rory Hamilton-Brown departed for seven as Surrey found themselves 25 for two at the end of the powerplay.
In the eighth over, Steven Davies cleared the fine-leg boundary with a flick off Stevens for six but, with Tom Maynard lofting Adam Ball’s first delivery to Matt Coles at long-on, the visitors were 46 for three at the halfway mark.
Davies departed for 31 in the 11th over, beaten by Sam Billings' throw to the non-striker’s end from deep midwicket.
When Matthew Spriegel went caught behind for three attempting to cut, Wilson was joined in the middle by Zafar Ansari with Surrey in some trouble at 62 for five at the end of the 13th over.
However, the visitors were given hope by a stirring sixth-wicket partnership, which produced 51 in 38 deliveries.
Wilson, on 17, had a let-off when he was dropped at long-off from Ball in the 15th over. Two overs later, the 26-year-old Irishman pulled Coles for a maximum.
Just after reaching his half-century, Wilson was put down again, this time at deep midwicket, though not before Ansari had holed out to fine-leg for 15.
In reply, Kent were handed an excellent start by Billings and Key, who combined for 40 in six overs for the first wicket.
Key picked Ansari up over long-on for six in the third over and, two overs later, Billings cover drove Stuart Meaker for two fours.
Billings departed lbw for 18, shuffling across his stumps to Jade Dernbach, and Azhar Mahmood was then stumped off Ansari for six, but Key and Stevens put the result beyond doubt with an unbeaten third-wicket stand of 69 in eight overs.
Stevens’ innings included four maximums. He swept Ansari beyond the ropes and deposited Murali Kartik over long-on before cutting Dernbach for six and completed a quartet of sixes with a straight drive off Ansari.