sport

Stevens sets up Kent victory

A mini-tornado and the bowling of Darren Stevens proved critical as Kent secured a 40-run win over NatWest T20 blast South Group opponents Somerset in Canterbury.

Kent, having posted 195 for seven - their second highest total of the campaign - had reduced the visitors to 59 for five when the bad weather arrived.

With nearby lightning strikes and strengthening winds whipping around the St Lawrence Ground at 9pm and with Somerset already in trouble after Stevens' haul of four for 17, umpires Steve O'Shaugnessy and Peter Willey rightly took the players off the field for their own safety. They abandoned the game half-an-hour later.

It left Kent celebrating a fifth win of a stop-start campaign at a virtually empty ground, while Somerset will travel home needing to beat Middlesex in their final game of the campaign to stand a chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Kent made the worst possible start in losing opening batsman Daniel Bell-Drummond to the first ball of the match. Playing back and across to a Dirk Nannes' in-swinging yorker, the right-hander lost his middle stump and marched off without troubling the scorers.

In-form Sam Northeast and Rob Key then combined to bat Somerset out of the game with a commanding second-wicket stand of 135 in 13.2 overs.

Northeast escaped twice, to sharp catches, to post a 32-ball 50. Then Key, having reached the milestone off 30 balls, moved on to 56 when he was caught at point off an Alfonso Thomas beamer that was duly declared a no-ball.

The pair equalled Kent's T20 partnership record of 135, set by Joe Denly and Azhar Mahmood against Gloucestershire at Beckenham in 2011. It was also the fifth highest stand since T20 began.

Northeast finally went caught and bowled off a leading edge for 73, then Key was run out for 72 but their endeavours ensured that Somerset needed to score in excess of 9.8 an over for victory.

With the weather closing in the visitors clearly took the view that they needed to get ahead in the powerplay overs before the deluge arrived, but Kent seamer Stevens had other ideas.

His four-over stint of four for 17 with the new ball, which included a rare double-wicket maiden, put paid to any hopes of a west country win.

Ben Harmison also chipped in with the prized scalp of Marcus Trescothick, athletically caught at short fine-leg by a diving Bell-Drummond.