FRIENDS PROVIDENT t20, Chelmsford: Kent 170-4 (18.4 ovs) beat Essex 167-9 (20 ovs) by six wickets Match scorecard
Ryan ten Doeschate sweeps as Kent wicketkeeper Geraint Jones looks on
Essex all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate hit 98 but it was not enough to prevent Kent from notching a six-wicket Friends Provident t20 win at Chelmsford.
Ten Doeschate hit nine fours and seven sixes in his 47-ball effort to guide his side from 24-4 to 167-9.
Kent slipped to 62-3 in reply and could have been in further trouble had Matt Walker not dropped Geraint Jones.
Jones went on to hit a 34-ball 54 and Darren Stevens scored 49 not out as Kent won with eight balls to spare.
Visiting captain Rob Key opted to open the bowling with Stevens and the decision paid dividends when Mark Pettini chipped to Malinga Bandara at mid-wicket and Ravi Bopara played over a full inswinger that hit his off stump.
Simon Cook repeated the double-wicket dose in the fifth over by having Grant Flower caught at deep mid-wicket and bowling Graham Napier to leave Essex struggling at 24-4.
Ten Doeschate and Walker (21) added 54 to begin the rebuilding process before the Dutch international dominated a 28-ball stand of 58 with James Foster (14).
After offering a sharp caught-and-bowled chance to Azhar Mahmood, Ten Doeschate began the last over on 87 and looked set for a century when he hit Amjad Khan for two sixes and a four from the first four deliveries.
But he was to be run out off the penultimate ball of the innings, unable to beat Stevens' throw from long-off despite a despairing dive.
In reply, Kent lost Key, Joe Denly and Martin van Jaarsveld before Stevens and Geraint Jones, who was put down in the covers by Walker when on 11, hauled them back into contention.
The pair took 27 off one over from left-arm spinner Tim Phillips to bring up their 50 partnership but Jones fell soon after, bowled attempting to swipe Napier into the leg side.
However Stevens, who had also earlier survived a difficult skied chance to a diving Ten Doeschate, hit Napier for 18 off five deliveries in the 19th over to see Kent over the line and send Essex to only their seventh defeat in 27 completed Twenty20 games at Chelmsford.
Kent captain Rob Key told BBC Radio Kent: "This was a really good result. Chelmsford is a tough place to come and win a game. Now the team has some confidence and we've beaten a very good one-day team on their home ground.
"Opening the bowling with Darren Stevens was a punt that went really well. It couldn't have gone any better than that. Last year, we were poor with the first six overs and we've spent a lot of time practising that over the last couple of days.
"It was a bit strange here because normally spin does very well, but tonight all the spinners got clubbed."
"The next few days aren't going to be easy. We've had this game, a midnight finish to come (at the Rose Bowl against Hampshire) and then straight to Tunbridge Wells for a four-day game."
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