Essex lose second Natwest T20 Blast game, as Kent Spitfires prevail
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Daniel Bell-Drummond hit 90 not out from 55 balls to steer Kent Spitfires to a seven-wicket NatWest T20 Blast win over Essex Eagles in Beckenham.
Bell-Drummond smacked eight fours and four sixes as Kent eased home with nine balls to spare.
Essex, who lost at home to Surrey on Friday, were again seriously out-gunned and have yet to win in their group.
Responding to 166 for eight, Kent’s Joe Denly clubbed 23 off the second over from Mohammad Amir – the openers posting 50 in five overs.
After adding 32 from 16 balls, Denly was bowled by Simon Harmer bringing together Sam Northeast and Bell-Drummond for a partnership of 70 from 49 balls.
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Bell-Drummond raised the first 50 and, in his desperation to take a wicket Ryan ten Doeschate made five bowling changes in five overs.
His ploy succeeded when Northeast’s reverse sweep against Harmer went to backward point to end his stay for 33.
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Sam Billings went for six when edging a sweep leg-side to James Foster from Asha Zaidi, but Bell-Drummond could not be shifted.
The 23-year-old lofted Jamie Porter for a brace of sixes and hit a fourth six over long on against Amir to win the game.
Batting first after winning the toss, Essex had made a decent start.
Varun Chopra lifted a huge six over square leg off the third ball of the match from Adam Milne, who conceded another maximum in his next over when Tamim Iqbal drove straight over the bowler’s head. The Kiwi paceman extracted immediate revenge however, bowling Tamim (7).
Eagles mustered 43 for from their powerplay and lost Tom Westley (13) to a yorker from Jimmy Neesham.
Chopra was on 47 when he chipped leg-side against off-spinner James Tredwell to pick out Denly at deep mid-wicket.
Ten Doeschate posted his side’s 100 before he and Ravi Bopara fell in successive overs.
Ten Doeschate, with 38 to his name, holed out to deep mid-wicket, then, after scoring 45 from 33 balls, Bopara was caught low by Alex Blake.
Three wickets fell in a dramatic final over from Neesham, who sent James Foster (caught, 9), Zaidi (caught, 1) and Paul Walter (run-out) with a direct hit to the non-striker’s end.
Essex coach Chris Silverwood conceded that his side under performed with both bat and ball.
“This game has moved on, batsmen are braver and hit the ball harder and further, and there are fewer hiding places for the bowlers,” he said.
“That said, I felt we were well short in terms of setting a target today as it proved, but equally we didn’t bowl that well either.
“We saw with Bell-Drummond in the Kent innings that if one guy goes on well past 50 you can score runs on that pitch, but our guys didn’t do that, two or three made starts ans then got out. That’s something we can look at but from the bowling perspective we fed them a little too much, too easily. That’s something to work on and we’ll get back on the training field and get on with it.”