Kent leapfrog fellow strugglers Surrey with Oval mauling
Last season’s Royal London One-Day Cup runners-up Kent opened their South Group win account for 2019 by trouncing fellow strugglers Surrey by eight wickets at the Oval.
Kent skittled out Surrey for just 127 inside 36 overs as only Dean Elgar made it past 14, the South Africa batsman standing firm to finish unbeaten on 62.
Kent then made light of the run chase, coasting home with more than 21 overs to spare with Daniel Bell-Drummond (41), interim skipper Heino Kuhn (36 not out) and Matt Renshaw (32no) leading the way.
Chasing 128 at a modest asking rate of 2.56 an over, Kent had already reduced their target to double figures when Zak Crawley skied a catch to third man.
Bell-Drummond and Australia batsman Renshaw continued their side’s aggressive approach to the pursuit with a second-wicket stand worth 43 that ended when Bell-Drummond fenced at a Conor McKerr leg-cutter to be caught behind.
Despite the fast fading light and squally showers, Kuhn and Renshaw showed all their international experience to steer Spitfires to victory with an unbroken half-century stand to wrap up their side’s win by 4.15pm.
Batting first after winning the toss on an overcast morning, Surrey made a poor start in the face of some impressive line-and-length bowling from Kent’s new-ball pairing of Harry Podmore and Matt Milnes.
Podmore broke through in the third over of the day when Will Jacks dragged a delivery onto his stumps via an inside edge.
Four balls later, left-hander Mark Stoneman nicked low to slip after being squared up by late away-swing from Milnes, who then rushed one through the gate to peg back Jamie Smith’s middle stump.
Occasional seamer Bell-Drummond came on as a surprising first change, only to strike with his sixth delivery from the Vauxhall End, a short one that Rory Burns pulled obligingly to mid-wicket to make it 38 for four.
Surrey’s demise continued when Jordan Clark nicked a Bell-Drummond leg-cutter through to the keeper and Ryan Patel skied Renshaw’s first-ball full-toss to short fine leg.
Stuart Meaker pulled a Milnes bouncer down the throat of long leg then Renshaw got one to bounce and brush Freddie Van Der Bergh’s outside edge for Crawley to pull off a reflex one-handed catch at slip to leave Surrey 98 for eight.
Elgar’s 79-ball 50 with two fours and a six helped the hosts limp to a three-figure total, but the dogged accuracy of left-arm paceman Fred Klaassen was rewarded when he demolished McKerr’s stumps as the tailender swished across the line.
Elgar was left high and dry when former Test team-mate and ex-Kent quick bowler Morne Morkel was skittled by a Klaassen yorker to end Surrey’s innings more than an hour before the scheduled lunch interval.
Bell-Drummond, Renshaw and Klaassen bagged two wickets apiece, with Milnes the pick of the Spitfires attack with three for 37.