Duo steer Spitfires to unlikely success
Brendan Nash’s stunning half-century helped Kent to a thrilling five-wicket win over Northamptonshire and kept their Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-final hopes alive.
The Steelbacks posted 232 for nine as captain Alex Wakely made 74 from 76 balls and youngster Christian Davis blasted 54 off 50, with Matt Coles taking 3-45.
Despite Con de Lange’s 3-35, the Spitfires reached their target with eight balls to spare as former West Indies international Nash - well supported by Geraint Jones - hammered an unbeaten 70 off just 52 deliveries.
Northants opted to bat and Kyle Coetzer was unfortunate to be run out for 11 when bowler Simon Cook tipped Rob Newton’s straight drive on to the stumps at the non-striker’s end.
Newton himself clobbered 45 off 41 balls before he was sharply taken at short midwicket by Coles off James Tredwell.
David Sales was trapped lbw by Darren Stevens and, two balls later, wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien edged the same bowler to Tredwell at slip.
Wakely, however, hung around to complete his half-century off 52 balls and Davis later raced past 50 off 47 deliveries as part of an 89-run stand.
Wakely departed by smashing Coles to Sam Billings at long-on and Davis soon followed when he launched Cook to Coles at long-off.
Rob Keogh was comfortably caught at square-leg by Stevens off Coles before de Lange swept Cook to Alex Blake at fine-leg.
Jack Brooks was then well-taken at mid-on by Tredwell off Coles in the final over.
Chasing 233, Kent got off to a bad start when they lost Billings for 12 in the fourth over; Olly Stone’s delivery clipped his off stump.
Spitfires captain Rob Key departed by smashing de Lange straight to Coetzer at long-off before Stevens dragged David Burton on to his stumps.
Sam Northeast fell for 44, inside edging de Lange on to leg stump before the South African spinner claimed his third wicket by bowling Blake.
But Nash helped Kent towards their target by smashing 50 off 41 balls and former England wicketkeeper Geraint Jones completed a fifty of his own two balls quicker.
Jones finished on 52 not out as part of an unbeaten partnership of 107 with his single winning the match in the penultimate over.