Kent stay in contention
Matt Coles took four wickets in nine balls to help Kent to a 20-run Clydesdale Bank 40 win over Hampshire at the Rose Bowl.
But the real Kent hero was their experienced South African batsman Martin Van Jaarsveld, who made an unbeaten 104 after Kent chose to bat first.
He shared two critical stands - 79 with Geraint Jones for the fourth wicket and 64 with Darren Stevens for the fifth - to enable the Spitfires to set Hampshire a challenging six an over.
He reached his century in the final over of the innings as Kent closed on 239 for five, leaving Hampshire with plenty to do.
Van Jaarsveld finished with 104 not out off 83 balls, an intelligently-paced innings which included eight fours and two sixes.
Jones and Stevens each made 38 and there was an important 22 from Joe Denly at the top of the innings as the Royals struggled to keep the scoring in check.
Dominic Cork's side needed to win to keep the pressure on group rivals Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire, and they made a superb start when they replied.
Australia opener Phil Hughes, signed on a short-term contract until the end of the season, helped the prolific Jimmy Adams put on 85 in only 16 overs.
But after leg-spinner Malinga Bandara found a way through Hughes' defence Hampshire were never quite the same force.
Their momentum stalled at 115 when Adams was third out, another victim for Bandara, having made 74 from only 71 balls.
Much depended on Michael Carberry to stay in control but the big-hitting Sean Ervine was fifth out at 180, leaving Hampshire needing 60 off 7.3 overs.
Coles came on to make a decisive contribution, dismissing Liam Dawson and Chris Wood in succesive balls and in the following over removing Cork and Michael Bates.
This seemed to be the end for Hampshire but Carberry and number 11 Danny Briggs had other thoughts.
Carberry and Briggs needed 36 off the final three overs and there were some heart-stopping moments for Kent supporters as the pair inched their way towards an unlikely target.
However, after adding 26 and taking Hampshire to within sight of victory, Carberry went down the wicket to Dewald Nel and was stumped by the grateful Jones.
Carberry hit seven fours and a six in his rapid 57 and after his demise there were only seven balls left. Youngster Coles finished with creditable figures of 4-45.