South Group: Kent 200-2 (Bell-Drummond 83*, Denly 75) beat Somerset 197-7 (Allenby 91, Trego 57; Cowdrey 3-18) by eight wickets
If Somerset made it look easy when new captain Jim Allenby and veteran ciderman Pete Trego were at the crease together adding 132 runs, the Kent batsmen made the 198 target look like batting practice.
Two brilliant half-centuries from Kent openers Daniel Bell-Drummond and Joe Denly saw the hosts hit 112-0 after 10 overs.
The two men brought their fifties up from 29 and 30 balls respectively and then opened their shoulders and found the boundary at least twice each over; until Denly fell to Tim Groenewald for 75 caught in the deep.
Somerset’s new limited-overs captain Allenby played a true skipper’s innings. His 91 from 59 including 10 fours and three sixes scored alongside Somerset mainstay Trego during their 132 run second wicket partnership boosted the side’s total after they lost Johann Myburgh to David Griffiths with the first ball of the second over.
The Kent bowlers chose their strike carefully though. When Trego was dismissed by Fabian Cowdrey in the 14th over the visitors were sitting in a very respectable positions at 143-2 – that was until the 14th over came in Kent’s reply and their scorecard read 167-1.
The cidermen then stumbled their way to their final total of 197-7 losing wickets almost every over until the close and scoring just six runs from the final over.
There was little Allenby could do to curb the onslaught of runs instigated by the Kent openers. Bell-Drummond carried his bat and finished the match with a career best 83* which included 10 fours and two sixes.
Kent’s captain Sam Northeast came to the crease as number three bat having been gifted the opportunity to play openly, which he did and struck a brisk 27 from 13 balls before finding fielder Groenewald attempting to hit Roelof van der Merwe for a boundary.
The final 12 runs required were made into mincemeat by new batsman Darren Stevens who smashed his first ball for six leaving the hosts 192-2 after 16.4 overs.
Stevens struck the first ball of the 17th over for four to bring up the winning runs and secure a brilliant first victory for the south west Spitfires.
Kent’s performance tonight has surely sent a message to all other teams in their group – boy do they mean business this year.
Man of the Match: Daniel Bell-Drummond. The opener led the side from start to finish, imperiously with Joe Denly before closing the game out with an unbeaten 83.