Ben Compton helped steer the Kent Spitfires to a four-wicket win over the Northamptonshire Steelbacks in Royal London Cup at Canterbury.
Compton anchored Kent’s chase with a measured 87 as the hosts closed on 210 for six, chasing down Northamptonshire’s 210 all out with seven overs remaining.
The relatively modest target was largely down to Hamid Qadri, who took four for 36 and ran out Rob Keogh, as Kent stifled the Steelbacks in the field. Emilio Gay was their top scorer with 49.
Keogh took two for 35 and Nathan Buck two for 38, but despite a couple of wobbles, Kent ran out winners.
The Steelbacks’ decision to bat first in sweltering conditions initially seemed vindicated as Gay and Ricardo Vasconcelos raced to 59 without loss.
However, the partnership was broken when Qadri bowled the latter for 31 and although Will Young got a start, when Joe Denly had him caught behind off a glove for 20, Northamptonshire stumbled from 90 for one, failing to bat out their overs.
Saif Zaib made just five when he lifted a ball Harry Finch on the boundary and Qadri then seized on a mix-up after Emilio Gay slipped to run out Keogh for 11. Qadri then caught and bowled Gay, had Lewis McManus caught by Navdeep Saini for eight and was denied a fully deserved five-wicket bag when Compton dropped Buck at slip.
Buck had added only eight runs before he was bowled by Denly for 10, by which point the visitors seemed unsure whether to hit out or hang around. James Sales added 23 before he skewed Tawanda Muyeye’s second ball to Saini.
Brandon Glover took the Steelbacks to 200 but was out for 17 trying to hit Joey Evison over the square leg boundary and instead finding the inrushing Alex Blake, who took the catch at the second attempt.
Ben Sanderson lasted 50 balls and also made 17, before he holed out to Nathan Gilchrist and was caught by Muyeye, ending the innings with 3.1 overs remaining.
Buck struck twice in the sixth over of the chase to give Kent an early wobble. Muyeye was the first to go, victim of a juggling catch by Young at slip and Ollie Robinson then survived a loud lbw appeal before he was comprehensively bowled by the next ball.
Compton and Denly tilted the momentum back in Kent’s favour with a stand of 83 that ended when the latter tried to pull Keogh through cow corner and was caught by Gay for 42.
Visiting hopes flickered when Finch went for eight, driving Alex Russell to Keogh at silly mid-off, but Compton eased past 50 with three off the same bowler and he and Blake were happy to whittle away at the target in ones and twos.
When Blake charged down the wicket to Keogh he was stumped by McManus for 20, but by then Kent only needed 41. Evison (16 not out) had helped chop the deficit to just one when Compton was caught by Gay off Glover, leaving Qadri to edge the winning boundary through the slip cordon.