T20 Blast: Wins for Essex, Kent, Gloucestershire and Hampshire in South Division
Last Updated: 23/05/14 11:38pm
Essex Eagles pulled off a dramatic victory over Glamorgan Dragons with two balls left of Friday night's NatWest T20 Blast South Division clash under the floodlights in Chelmsford.
Glamorgan had set a fast early pace, with Jacques Rudolph (63) and captain Jim Allenby (68) helping the Dragons post 189-6.
New Zealand all-rounder Jesse Ryder hit a quickfire 30 before Tom Westley (48), Ben Foakes (46) and James Foster (32) set up a tense final over, in which Greg Smith delivered a thrilling five-wicket victory with a six.
Elsewhere, Kent opened their T20 Blast campaign with a 42-run victory over Somerset in a rain-affected match in Taunton.
The game was reduced to 13 overs a side and delayed until 7pm, but the poor weather failed to dampen Kent's spirits as they sent the hosts crashing to a second defeat in the competition.
The win was orchestrated by Kent's top order, with opener Daniel Bell-Drummond the star of the show as he smashed 59 off 30 balls, including eight fours and two sixes, to set up a score of 164-5. When Somerset captain Marcus Trescothick fell cheaply for three runs, the writing appeared to be on the wall.
Trescothick's fellow opener Craig Kieswetter struck 40 to give Somerset hope, but they were running out of overs to catch their opponents.
James Hildreth finished unbeaten on 58 from 29 balls in a score consisting of seven fours and one six, but his fine effort failed to prevent Kent from romping home.
Comfortable first win
Gloucestershire wiped out their negative points tally as they claimed a comfortable first T20 Blast win of the season against Middlesex at Bristol.
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Gloucestershire - who began their South Division campaign on minus two points as punishment for preparing a poor pitch last season - eased to a five-wicket victory over the Panthers.
They restricted Middlesex to 111-8 from their 20 overs and then knocked off the runs with 15 balls to spare.
James Fuller (3-29) and Liam Norwell (3-27) both did damage as the Panthers struggled to generate momentum in their innings after a rain-delayed start.
Finally, Hampshire claimed their first victory of this season's T20 Blast with an 18-run win over local rivals Sussex at Hove.
James Vince top-scored for the visitors with 52, but there were also useful contributions from Adam Wheater and Sean Ervine as Hampshire posted 177-5.
Ed Joyce's 56 gave Sussex some hope in reply, but Will Smith and Chris Wood claimed two wickets apiece to hand the Sharks their first defeat of the campaign.