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Kent Spitfires v Hampshire (T20)

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Kent Spitfires v Hampshire

Kent Spitfires emerged victorious by the smallest of margins in Hampshire's Vitality Blast match-up at Beckenham

Another thrilling finish between Hampshire and Kent Spitfires saw the hosts narrowly emerge victorious after claiming a nail-biting four-wicket Vitality Blast victory at Beckenham.

When Heino Kuhn hit a Kyle Abbott full toss straight to extra cover from the first ball of the final over, with Kent needing 10 runs to overhaul Hampshire’s 135 all out, it seemed as if the visitors were favourites to complete a four successive win of their own and a third in four days.

But New Zealand fast bowler Adam Milne, who had earlier taken 3 for 21 to help to restrict Hampshire’s total to manageable proportions on a sluggish surface, strode in to loft his first ball for two into the legside, strike his second ball over extra cover for four and then complete another two for a drive to long on.

And with only two runs now being required off the last two balls, the Kiwi top-edged a pull at Abbott’s penultimate delivery over short third man for another four to secure victory with just one delivery to spare.

As a mark of how hard strokeplay was, Kuhn top-scored for Kent with a well-judged 41 from 33 balls while James Vince’s 44 for Hampshire took him 47 balls, with two fours.

Kent’s reply began with five boundaries from Daniel Bell-Drummond but he skied the last ball of the third over to depart for 21 and Ollie Robinson was smartly stumped for 5 by Lewis McManus when he drove over a near-yorker from off spinner Brad Taylor.

Taylor then brilliantly ran out Zak Crawley for 22, hitting the bowler’s stumps on the turn after sprinting across the pitch to field when Kuhn turned down a short single into the legside off his own bowling and Crawley could not regain his ground.

Nabi then carved Kyle Abbott to deep cover in the 15th over before the left-handed  Alex Blake lofted Chris Wood to long on from the first ball of the 19th over. But Kuhn and Milne, were equal to an equation of 17 runs being needed from the last 11 balls when Blake fell.

After Hampshire had been asked to bat first, Rossouw hit the first two balls of the third over, from left arm seamer Fred Klaassen, for legside sixes but saw Aneurin Donald sky to mid off later in the over to before himself mishitting to mid off.

Sam Northeast edged the pacy Milne to keeper Robinson while Dawson pulled Stewart to deep square leg to go for 12.

At the halfway mark Hampshire were 58 for 3, and – despite sixes from Chris Morris off Klaassen and Stewart –batting continued to remain difficult.

Morris fell to Stewart for 17, caught at long on, but then came an extraordinary 15th over in which Klaassen bowled two high full tosses – the second of which meant he was withdrawn from the attack. A first free hit had only cost Kent a single but now a second free hit, with Bell-Drummond employing his own medium pace to complete the over after himself starting with a no ball full toss, being struck for six over deep mid wicket by James Fuller.

Fuller also clubbed Bell-Drummond for four and, in all, 24 runs came from a nine-ball over and, suddenly, with five overs remaining, Hampshire had 110 on the board.

Viljeon emoved Fuller for 17, caught upper-cutting to third man, with Nabi’s off spin accounting for McManus and Milne bowling both Taylor and Vince..

Wood then skied to long on with four balls of the innings to spare.