Bell-Drum­mond again shows his class

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport -

Superb death bowl­ing and an­other Daniel Bell-Drum­mond mas­ter­class saw Kent Spit­fires edge past Hamp­shire in NatWest T20 Blast South Group on Tues­day.

Bell-Drum­mond scored 62 from 42 balls – his third half-cen­tury of the group stage – to pass 300 T20 runs for the sea­son and help his side reach 91-1 in the 11th over, although the Spit­fires did stut­ter to post 159-6 on a slow track.

How­ever, de­spite a bright start to the re­ply from the hosts see­ing them look odds-on to se­cure a healthy win at the Ageas Bowl, need­ing just 52 from the fi­nal seven overs, a superb bowl­ing dis­play re­stricted them to 154-4.

Af­ter Jimmy Nee­sham and Matt Coles stemmed the flow in the fi­nal few overs, con­ced­ing two and six from the 18th and 19th overs re­spec­tively, Mitch Clay­don de­fended 16 from the fi­nal six balls to en­hance his grow­ing death bowl­ing rep­u­ta­tion.

The win – Kent’s fourth in nine games – en­hanced their hopes of a top-four fin­ish in a tight South Group with rock-bot­tom Sus­sex to visit Can­ter­bury next on Fri­day night. James Vince and Rilee Ros­souw had got Hamp­shire off to a quick start and Vince, in par­tic­u­lar, took a fancy to Clay­don, who he dis­patched for the match’s first six over cover in the fourth over.

But Clay­don hit back three balls later as Ros­souw picked out Alex Blake at mid-on to break the 43-run open­ing part­ner­ship.

Vince de­parted to the fi­nal ball of the pow­er­play as he was yorked by for­mer team-mate Matt Coles as Hamp­shire sped to 60 in the open­ing six overs.

Spin pair Im­ran Qayyum and James Tred­well put the brakes on Hamp­shire’s charge with tight mid­dle overs.

And from then on the hosts strug­gled though Bailey and Al­sop neatly added 40 to take their side to 28 runs from vic­tory be­fore the Aus­tralian chipped a sweep to short fine leg for 41.

Liam Daw­son then picked out Blake on the long-on boundary af­ter Nee­sham had only gone for two in the 18th over.

Coles then went for six in the penul­ti­mate over be­fore Clay­don bril­liantly de­fended the last six balls, as he only went for 10.

Ear­lier, Kent cap­tain Sam North­east won the toss and de­cided to bat on a grubby track un­der thin grey clouds.

Joe Denly and Bell-Drum­mond set off at an un­der­stated rate, which set the tone for the in­nings.

Denly cracked back-to-back fours off Chris Wood in the sec­ond over – two of just 12 bound­aries in the Kent to­tal – as they reached 47 by the end of the pow­er­play. Ma­son Crane broke the 65-run open­ing stand when he bowled Denly.

Skip­per North­east was bowled for a quick 10 and Sam Billings picked out Crane on the long on boundary as Shahid Afridi showed his class.

Bell-Drum­mond con­tin­ued to tick the score along ef­fort­lessly and reached a 33-ball fifty be­fore Afridi snatched two wick­ets in two balls to fin­ish with 4-26.

Nee­sham top edged a sweep to short third man and Bel­lDrum­mond was bril­liantly caught for 62 by a slid­ing Daw­son on the cover boundary.

Blake and Dar­ren Stevens struck a quick 39 to lift Kent to 159 with the late runs a key fac­tor in mak­ing sure Kent went level on points with fourth­placed Hamp­shire.


Daniel Bel­lDrum­mond went past 300 runs in this year’s T20 with his 62 against Hamp­shire

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