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Billings takes top billing

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Sam Billings hit the highest one-day total by a Kent player at Canterbury and Darren Stevens snared five wickets in 19 balls to ease the hosts to an emphatic 111-run win over Derbyshire at Canterbury.

In front of their second best crowd of the summer, Kent wrapped up their 161st Canterbury Week with their fourth win of the Clydesale Bank 40 Group C campaign - secured with 56 balls to spare.

Billings' 143 helped the hosts on their way to a score of 248 for six, before Stevens took centre stage with the ball to help bowl out Derbyshire for 137. The result saw the sides swap third and fourth places.

Batting first after losing the toss, Kent suffered two early blows on possibly the hottest day of the season at the St Lawrence Ground.

Sam Billings

Sam Billings created history at Canterbury with the highest one-day score there - 143 - as Kent thrashed Derbyshire by 111 runs

Home skipper Rob Key fell for a five-ball duck when he pushed tentatively at a Tim Groenewald leg-cutter to nick one low to Wes Durston at slip.

Then, having faced only three balls, Sam Northeast also went without scoring when he departed leg before after playing across a full-length ball from Mark Turner that made it 16 for two.

The situation might have worsened had Tom Poynton held on to a diving, one-glove chance to his left from Stevens’ first-ball glance, but the wicketkeeper could only parry the chance for four to allow the veteran to get off the mark.

Stevens helped steady the Kent ship with Billings in a third-wicket stand of 85 in 15.3 overs, which ended when the former dragged one on to leg stump against Chesney Hughes to go for 40 and spark a secondary mini-collapse.

Azhar Mahmood holed out against Peter Burgoyne and Alex Blake nicked a drive to the keeper off the same bowler to leave Kent in trouble at 123 for five.

That was the cue for 21-year-old Billings to move into top gear. The right-hander eased to his fifty from 46 balls then cut loose with an array of shots.

The majority of his strokes were orthodox, yet some were impish and improvised in the fashion of another wiry Kent gloveman - the legendary Alan Knott.

Sweeping wristily, driving on the up and chipping the ball to all parts, Billings reached his first century for Kent, off a mis-field to backward point, from 97 balls and with 11 fours.

He really cut loose when in tandem with Geraint Jones as the two wicketkeepers added 117 in 14.1 overs. Billings was so dominant that his senior partner Jones contributed only 38 to their hundred stand.

With 143 to his name come the final over of the innings, Billings went all guns blazing for 150 but missed out with an attempted 'Dil-scoop' over fine-leg to be bowled. He left to a standing ovation after 113 balls and with 17 fours and a six.

Needing 6.22 an over for an unlikely win, Derbyshire were already up against it after a tight opening spell from Mark Davies of 3-25.

Any lingering hopes were completely blown away when Stevens replaced Davis at the Nackington Road End to bag 5-36 - including a 19-ball purple patch of 5-7 that eased Kent to victory.

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