Twenty20 Cup final, Edgbaston:
Kent 147-6 bt Gloucestershire 146-8 by four wickets
McLaren's hat-trick was a massive boost for Kent
Kent clinched a gripping four-wicket victory over Gloucestershire in the Twenty20 Cup final at Edgbaston.
Spitfires seamer Ryan McLaren bagged a hat-trick to help limit the Gladiators to 146-8 off 20 overs before Kent edged home with three balls left.
Darren Stevens rescued the spluttering Spitfires with 30 not out off 21 balls and hit the winning four off a no-ball.
Matt Walker top-scored with 45 for Kent after Kiwi Hamish Marshall had made 65 to under pin Gloucestershire's innings.
Kent were strolling in their floodlit run chase after skipper Rob Key and Joe Denly opened with a knock of 32.
But Key, who won the toss and elected to bowl, fell in controversial fashion when was caught by the fingertips of Hamish Marshall at midwicket off Carl Greenidge for 18.
Key walked off slowly in disgust, adamant the ball had not carried but umpire Neil Mallinder at square leg was happy with his decision.
The batsmen in the middle were unruffled, though, and Denly and Matt Walker piled on another 46 before Denly was removed by an impressive - and thoroughly legitimate - Marshall catch at midwicket off Mark Hardinges.
Martin van Jaarsfeld added nine runs before he was bowled by Hardinges, while Gloucestershire skipper Jon Lewis snapped up Walker in the 16th over.
When Lewis bowled McLaren for five, the whole complexion of the game changed and Kent were in danger of throwing away their dominant position.
Needing 20 runs off nine balls, Geraint Jones was run out after attempting a single off a Ben Edmonson misfield, but Edmonson recovered and threw down the stumps.
Yasir Arafat joined Stevens and the pair withstood the late pressure to hit 13 off the last over for victory.
McLaren was named man-of-the-match after bowling Gladiators' dangerman Marshall and then removing Steve Adshead and Ian Fisher in successive balls to leave Gloucestershire reeling on 111-7.
Only a late stand of 26 from Lewis and Hardinges enabled Gloucester to edge to a more respectable total.
The Gladiators set off in promising fashion with a Marshall clip for four off Lasith Malinga with the first ball.
But in the second over Craig Spearman, man-of-the-match in the semi-final win over Lancashire, wafted at a wide one from Arafat and Van Jaarsfeld pouched an easy edge at slip.
Two overs later Arafat's slower ball deceived Kadeer Ali, who could only hoist the ball high into the air above the safe hands of James Tredwell for six.
And the Gladiators suffered another blow when Chris Taylor fell lbw to Simon Cook for one in the fifth over.
Marshall became Gloucestershire's key man and the Kiwi kept one end ticking over with a series of chops, dabs and pushes.
But the Gladiators were reeling when Alex Gidman (5) was run out by a direct hit from Van Jaarsfeld after nudging a quick single onto the leg side.
Gloucestershire reached the halfway mark at 71-4 as Marshall and Hardinges steadied the ship with a partnership of 49.
But the Gladiators were mortally wounded when South African McLaren claimed his hat-trick in the 17th over.
Lewis fell in the last over for 17, lbw to Malinga, leaving Hardinges on 39 not out, while McLaren ended with 3-22 off four overs.