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Ex-Kent opener Joe Denly leads Middlesex Panthers' mauling of Kent
An inspired innings from a former Kent batsman consigned the Spitfires to a second successive Friends Life T20 defeat in Canterbury yesterday.
An unbeaten 90 from 66 balls in front of a home-town crowd for Joe Denly set Middlesex up for a thumping 47 run victory.
Denly combined with Paul Stirling (63) to add 127 for the first wicket in less than 12 overs as the Middlesex Panthers’ hit 207-2 - their highest T20 total.
Go-to-guy Azhar Mahmood went for 61 from four overs, while young fast bowler Matt Coles was knocked for 33 in two.
Standing in as captain for the injured Rob Key, Geraint Jones said: “We are gutted to have 200 scored against us, but credit has to go to their boys and the way they hit it.
“We know Joe (Denly) is a good player and I have seen Stirling do something very similar before.
“If we are honest with ourselves, we were nowhere near it with our bowling."
Kent were always on the back foot in reply, pegged back by the 90mph darts of England star Steve Finn.
Young openers Sam Billings (43) and Sam Northeast (60) started brightly, adding 90, but a disastrous spell of four wickets in four balls with the score on 120 effectively ended the contest after 15 overs.
Kent limped to 159-7 from their 20.
Jones said: “We told the guys to go out there and play their shots. Finny bowled really well in the two overs he had up front, so that put us behind straight away.
“I think the two lads - the two Sams - played really well. Their partnership was really encouraging.
“We were chasing 10 or 11 an over most of the night, which is tough. You have just got to keep going.
“When we lost those four wickets in four balls we had to hit a boundary every ball. The guys were trying to do that.”
Kent remain third in their group, although both Surrey and Hampshire behind them have two games in hand.
The Spitfires travel to Hove to face Sussex of Friday, and need a win to get the campaign back on track.
Rob Key is expected to have recovered from a neck injury picked up in practice.
Jones said: “We have got to do some strong thinking about variations with our bowling. That is probably the area we are lacking in.
“The batting has been pretty good all the way through.”
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