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Stevens and Northeast see Kent home

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Darren Stevens

Darren Stevens led the way with a 67-ball 70 to help guide Kent to a routine four-wicket victory over the Netherlands at Canterbury

An entertaining stand of 132 between Darren Stevens and Sam Northeast helped Kent to a four-wicket victory over the Netherlands in the Clydesdale Bank 40 at Canterbury.

Stevens was at his fluent best with 70 from 67 balls, while Northeast more than played his part with 58 not out as Kent won with more than four overs to spare.

All-rounder Stevens, whose knock was a season’s best, and Northeast helped Kent recover from 51 for four to win after the Netherlands posted 199 for six, which was dominated by a record seventh-wicket partnership of 124 in 106 balls between Tom de Grooth and Mudassar Bukhari.

Pakistan-born Bukhari chanced his arm with several lusty blows in a season’s best unbeaten knock of 78 from 62 balls, featuring seven fours and two sixes. His partner, de Grooth, anchored the innings with an unbeaten 37 from 49 as the pair ensured the Netherlands had something to bowl at after having slumped to 75 for six.

Kent had earlier looked like bowling the Netherlands out for less than 100 when a lively opening spell from Wahab Riaz and Azhar Mahmood reduced the Dutch to seven for two.

Wilfred Diepeveen then went to Simon Cook and visiting skipper Peter Borren walked after edging a slow James Tredwell turner to Geraint Jones as the Netherlands slipped to 67 for four.

Adam Ball, the left-arm seamer, then bowled Michael Swart, to end his 46-ball knock of 17, and Tim Gruijters, who missed a straight one.

It was then left to Bukhari and de Grooth to share in a vital partnership, although they were helped along the way as the Kent attack delivered 19 wides.

Kent, too, struggled in the first 10 overs of their reply, losing four quick wickets as the ball continued to do plenty on a two-paced St Lawrence track.

Openers Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drummond, in for absent skipper Rob Key, both fell to left-arm seamer Shane Mott and when Mahmood and Martin van Jaarsveld followed in the first nine overs, Kent were struggling at 54 for four.

However, Stevens and Northeast, who was dropped by wicketkeeper Barresi when on 49, shared in a crucial stand from 136 balls.

The home side lost Stevens four overs before the end and Jones, leaving Ball to hit the winning boundary off the penultimate ball of the 35th over as Kent recorded just their fourth win in nine outings in the CB40.