Yorkshire Bank 40: Kent Spitfires beat Sussex Sharks at Canterbury

Last Updated: 20/06/13 12:32am

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Kent Spitfires engineered a remarkable three-wicket Yorkshire Bank 40 win over Sussex thanks to Darren Stevens' fastest hundred of the county season at Canterbury.

Set to score a mammoth 337 for victory, Kent edged home in a tense finish to complete a stunning chase with nine balls to spare.

Stevens contributed a blistering 53-ball innings of 118, Rob Key chipped in with 52 and Sam Northeast all but saw them home with a maiden one-day century off 90 balls.

Facing an asking rate of 8.4 an over from the off, Kent made a brisk start to their pursuit as openers Key and Northeast posted 109 inside 13 overs.

Soon after reaching a 40-ball 50 with eight fours, Key holed out to long-on against Chris Liddle then, after Northeast's 41-ball 50 with five fours and a six, Alex Blake (14) edged behind with Kent handily placed at 151-2 at the mid-point of their reply.

The hosts accelerated as Stevens took 17 off an over from leg-spinner Will Beer and 20 came off his replacement, Rory Hamilton-Brown.

Stevens notched a 24-ball half-century then moved through the gears, scoring his second 50 off only 20 more to match Mark Ealham's 44-ball ton, the fastest for Kent, in a 1995 Sunday League clash with Derbyshire.

Stevens hit 10 fours and six sixes and in the process became the front runner for the Walter Lawrence Trophy, awarded for the fastest hundred of the summer.

Stevens said: "Any hundred is an achievement, but to score one off 44 balls in a game like that when we've needed 8.4 an over for 40 overs, well it means a lot.

"I possibly played as well as this in my first season for Kent (2005) when I scored a couple of mid-season hundreds, but I don't think I've ever batted this consistently from game to game, format to format."

He finally holed out for 118 and marched off to a standing ovation to leave centre stage free for Northeast.

With a modest previous List A best of 69, Northeast plundered 115 with 11 fours and a six but, with only 14 needed for victory, was stumped by Ben Brown when attempting a tired-looking drive against Beer.

Ben Harmison (1) quickly departed leg before and with the tension mounting, Calum Haggett (0) chipped to midwicket and Mitch Claydon was run out for eight, having hit his first ball for six.

It took a leg-side wide from Sussex saint-turned-sinner Luke Wright to clinch Kent's fifth win in eight Group A starts and complete a fourth defeat for the shell-shocked Sharks.

Having earlier been given first use of a sublime St Lawrence pitch, Sussex made the most of a short boundary on the Old Dover Road side of the ground to improve their one-day best total against Kent within 37.2 overs - beating their previous record of 314-7, set in the Gillette Cup at Tunbridge Wells in 1963 which, in its inaugural year, was a 65 overs per side competition.

Wright had plundered 13 fours and five sixes in a 54-ball ton, beating Josh Cobb's 62-ball hundred for Leicestershire against Somerset in May to set a shortlived mark for the fastest of the season.

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