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Essex defeat ends Kent's T20 knock-out dreams
KENT'S slim hopes of scraping a quarter-final berth in the Friends Life T20 were scotched as Essex Eagles consigned them to a 23-run loss at Canterbury last night.
The Spitfires' fifth loss in nine T20 games means they cannot qualify for the knock-out stages, even as a best third-placed team.
Skipper Rob Key said: “It is always the most disappointing thing in county cricket for me – you can work really hard for a win (like at Surrey on Thursday) and you blow your chance to enjoy what you have done.”
He added: “I probably made the wrong decision not batting first.
“We won the toss on a used pitch and sometimes it can skid on and it is generally better to bat under lights. But it wasn't to be.”
Despite losing James Franklin for nought second ball, Essex accumulated ones and two wells as Pettini (59 from 36 balls) and Greg Smith (32 from 36) added 98 for the second wicket.
But then Kent struck back with four wickets in four overs for 24 runs to pin Essex back to a modest 149-5 from 20.
Darren Stevens was the pick of the bowlers, taking three wickets for 13 runs in four overs.
Kent started slowly after the break, limping to 21 for one from six overs.
When skipper Rob Key was bowled by James Franklin for seven with the score at 33-2 from 8.1 overs, the Spitfires were firmly stuck in neutral.
Two run outs in the 11th over put the contest to bed for good, as Kent were reduced to 50 for four.
Kent struggled on, making 126-9 at the close.
Geraint Jones top scored with 24 not out from 17 balls, but the match was as good as over by the time he arrived at the crease.
Key said: “To keep them down to 150, we thought we had a decent chance, but we didn't get going at all really.
“We needed to be at 50-odd from the first six overs but we were too slow and never got any momentum from there, and we were always chasing the game on a pitch that was getting tougher to score on.”
Kent Spitfires take on Middlesex Panthers in their final Friends Life T20 game of 2012 at Uxbridge on Sunday