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Stevens sends Kent through

Darren Stevens

Darren Stevens almost single handedly hauled Kent to victory © Getty Images

Darren Stevens propelled holders Kent into the Twenty20 Cup finals day with a superb 69 to set up a crushing 42-run victory over Warwickshire in their delayed quarter-final at Edgbaston.

Stevens clubbed five sixes and six fours in a wonderful display of clean hitting, though he was able to cut free thanks to two tactical errors by Warwickshire captain Darren Maddy.

Kent had been reined in by spinners Ian Salisbury and Ant Botha but Maddy surprisingly withdrew Botha from the attack and recalled seamer Tim Groenewald.

That was the signal for Stevens to attack and he lifted Groenewald for two sixes in an over that cost 22 runs.

Worse was to follow when Chris Woakes was brought back by Maddy at the City End. After three legitimate balls the England Under-19 seamer's fourth over had cost 26 when he was ordered out of the attack by umpire Rob Bailey for bowling two beamers - but not before Stevens had pummelled him for three maximums.

Maddy had to complete the over and though he bowled Stevens with his first ball the damage had been done. The over, the 19th of the innings, cost 33 runs and Stevens' onslaught helped Kent plunder 99 from their last six overs.

Stevens added 60 for the sixth wicket in just three overs with Azhar Mahmood but the late innings aggression contrasted with Kent's early struggles against the moving ball on a slow pitch.

New Zealand pace man Chris Martin bowled an impressive opening spell and Kent limped to 60 for three at the midway stage of their innings before Maddy called up his spinners.

Once Maddy withdrew Botha, Warwickshire lost their grip and Martin was among three senior bowlers left with an over unbowled in the confusion.

The game was effectively over by the halfway stage and Warwickshire drifted quietly to defeat in front of a subdued 6,000 crowd.

Neil Carter, often their danger man in the group stages, was bowled by Yasir Arafat in the second over for two and anchorman Jonathan Trott (13) soon holed out to mid-on.

Jim Troughton, Maddy and Botha offered some resistance but Stevens made sure of the man-of-the-match award by taking 2-29 with his tricky medium pace.