Key ends drought to take Kent to summit
Rob Key's first one-day century in four years helped move Kent to the summit of Group C in the Clydesdale Bank 40 as they beat Yorkshire by 30 runs.
Key, having lost the toss, anchored his side’s 226 for five with a battling century from 107 balls, after which Matt Coles and James Tredwell claimed three wickets apiece as the White Rose fell short.
The former England batsman featured in an opening stand worth 41 that ended when Sam Billings lifted his back foot, allowing Dan Hodgson to pull off a sharp stumping off Richard Pyrah.
Sam Northeast joined Key in an attractive second-wicket stand of 70, only to drive Adil Rashid on the up to Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale at short extra-cover.
Key moved smoothly to a 65-ball half-century, his first in the competition this summer, and impressed alongside Darren Stevens, who is currently lying second in the CB40 MVP rankings behind Somerset’s Peter Trego.
The third-wicket pair added 71 in 13.2 overs with Key moving smoothly to a hundred with six fours and two sixes.
Two balls later, however, the right-hander clipped a full-toss from Moin Ashraf into the hands of Rashid at square-leg and left to a standing ovation with 101 to his name.
It was Key’s first limited-overs century since his career-best 120 not out, scored against Essex at Canterbury four years ago.
Five balls later, Alex Blake, in making room to drive, was yorked by Ashraf for only a single. But Stevens and Brendan Nash batted sensibly thereafter to raise the Spitfires’ 200 in the 37th over.
Pyrah took a stunning one-handed reflex catch off his own bowling to account for Stevens on 43 as the White Rose limited the damage.
Yorkshire then made a quick start to their reply through Gale and Phil Jaques, who posted 50 inside six overs.
Yet with his score on 26, the latter was sent back after setting off for a risky single to backward point to be run out by a throw from Nash.
Joe Root edged into double figures, only to be caught at short extra-cover chasing a wide outswinger from Mark Davies.
Gale and Adam Lyth added an attractive 50 for the third wicket until the latter, in trying to repeat an earlier six, slog-swept Tredwell to Billings in the deep.
In the same over, Rashid fell leg before to the England off-spinner and departed without scoring.
Gale moved to a 75-ball fifty, but then danced down the pitch to Tredwell and yorked himself to gift Geraint Jones a comfortable stumping.
To the next ball, from Stevens, Gary Ballance gave Jones a catch when attempting to steer to third man.
With 67 required from 59 balls, the asking rate proved too much for Yorkshire, who succumbed for 196 to lose with 10 balls to spare.