Vitality Blast: Kent secure qualification for quarter-finals
Watch Surrey take on Kent in the Vitality Blast from 12.55pm on Sunday
By ECB Reporters Network
Last Updated: 18/09/20 10:13pm
Kent secured their qualification for the Vitality Blast quarter-finals after edging to a four-wicket win over Essex with two balls to spare at Canterbury.
Jack Leaning's unbeaten 55 helped Kent across the finish line to clinch their fifth qualifying win, guaranteeing at least third place in the South Group, and with a points total that cannot be matched by the North Group, meaning they advance at a minimum as one of the two best third-placed finishers.
Needing 168 for victory at an asking rate of 8.4 an over, the Spitfires found themselves in trouble as they slipped to 80-5 in the 11th over with Zak Crawley, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Joe Denly, Heino Kuhn and Sam Billings all having departed.
However, Leaning put on 67 for the sixth wicket with Alex Blake (29) to keep the hosts in contention before the latter fell to leave Kent needing 21 from 11 balls.
Leaning reached his half-century with a six from the last ball of the penultimate over, bringing Kent to within nine of victory, and after he clubbed another boundary, it was left to Grant Stewart to seal the win with a maximum. Kent vs Essex scorecard
George Garton had a day to remember with four wickets and a match-winning cameo of 24 from just nine balls as Sussex Sharks beat Middlesex by three wickets to keep their quarter-final hopes alive.
Garton took four wickets for the second time in his T20 career to help restrict Middlesex to 155-8 before making a spectacular contribution with the bat when he blasted 20 from five balls during the penultimate over from Steven Finn.
Middlesex seemed to have the game won when Sussex slumped from 70 without loss in seven overs to 121-6 with teenage leg-spinner Luke Hollman picking up 3-18, including Phil Salt for 56.
When Garton joined Aaron Thomason in the 17th over, Sussex still needed 45 but Garton swung the game back Sussex's way by hitting Finn for two straight sixes and two boundaries. Although he holed out off the final ball of the 19th over, Sussex needed three to win and Thomason smashed the winning boundary off Tom Helm with four balls to spare.
Sussex need to beat Essex at Chelmsford in their final group game on on Sunday and hope Surrey overcome Kent, if they are to secure a top-two finish. Sussex vs Middlesex scorecard
Reece Topley returned to the Ageas Bowl to haunt depleted Hampshire as Surrey remained top of the South Group with a nine-wicket win.
England white-ball international Topley returned career-best figures of 4-20 to restrict his former county to 138-8 before Will Jacks (56) cracked his third consecutive fifty and Laurie Evans clubbed 81 not out in a 118-run partnership for the second wicket, as already qualified Surrey all-but booked a home quarter-final by easing to victory with 28 balls to spare.
Hampshire were forced to leave out four players who were self-isolating due to coming into contact with an individual with coronavirus symptoms.
The players, along with members of the coaching staff, are awaiting test results and should they come back negative, will be in contention to face Middlesex on Sunday. Hants vs Surrey scorecard
Somerset kept alive their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals with a seven-wicket Central Group win over Northamptonshire at Taunton.
The visitors could post only 140-9 after winning the toss, despite being given solid base by Josh Cobb (49) and Paul Stirling (25).
Eighteen-year-old Somerset spinner Lewis Goldsworthy claimed 2-21 on his second T20 appearance.
In reply, Somerset cruised to 146-3, with two overs to spare. Steve Davies contributed 45, Tom Lammonby 43 not out and Tom Abell an unbeaten 42. Somerset vs Northants scorecard
Birmingham Bears took a big step towards the quarter-finals with a 16-run victory over arch-rivals Worcestershire Rapids at Edgbaston.
On a chilly, autumnal night in Birmingham, the Bears totalled 179-6. After Rob Yates' enterprising 37 at the top of the order, a solid total was assured by Sam Hain (61 off 33 balls) and Dan Mousley (40 off 31). Rapids captain Ed Barnard led his team's bowling with an intelligent spell of 4-0-20-2.
Hamish Rutherford's violent 45 (23 balls) gave the Rapids' reply a lightning start and Brett D'Oliveira played beautifully for 61 (40 balls) but then fell to Henry Brookes with his team still needing 26 from 13 balls. That equation proved beyond the tail as the Rapids fell short on 163-8. Birmingham vs Worcs scorecard
Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie fell agonisingly short of becoming Glamorgan's sixth centurion in T20 cricket as he led his side to a well-earned victory over group leaders Gloucestershire by 17 runs in Cardiff.
Balbirnie struck an explosive unbeaten 99, the highest individual T20 score by a Glamorgan batsman at Cardiff, to lay the foundations of a competitive 188-4, adding 61 for the second wicket with David Lloyd and an unbeaten 79 for the fourth with Chris Cooke.
Defeat for the visitors means they must wait until their final match against Somerset on Sunday to discover whether they will have a home tie in the quarter-finals.
Chasing 189 to win, Gloucestershire fell short on 171-6 despite 55 from 36 balls from Chris Dent and 37 from James Bracey, who was one of three victims for Graham Wagg (3-34). Glamorgan vs Gloucs scorecard
Durham maintained their quarter-final hopes with a fourth straight North Group win as Lancashire crumbled in pursuit of 158 to lose by 74 runs on a used pitch at Emirates Old Trafford.
Alex Lees top-scored with an unbeaten 67 in Durham's 152-5, boosted to 157 with five penalty runs for foul and abusive language - thought to come from Liam Livingstone after being dismissed in the home chase.
Matty Potts struck three times in a brilliant second over of Lancashire's innings as the hosts slipped to 9-4 and never recovered, being bowled out for their record low total of 83 in 15 overs. Potts finished with a career-best 3-8 from three overs. Lancs vs Durham scorecard
Skipper Colin Ackermann's unbeaten 67 helped Leicestershire end Nottinghamshire's unbeaten record at the top of the North Group in a match that left the visiting side counting the cost of a controversial incident that handed their opponents the bonus of five penalty runs.
The Foxes completed their win with a ball to spare but the talking point was the decision by umpires Nick Cook and Paul Pollard to award them five extra runs in the very first over of their reply as they chased a target of 163, invoking a change in the laws under which the fielding side can be penalised for deliberately distracting or deceiving the batsman on strike.
On this occasion, the umpires ruled the Outlaws fielder Steven Mullaney had contravened this law by simulating the action of sliding and grabbing the ball in a way that, in their judgement, could have deceived the batsman, in this case opener Nick Welch.
It meant Ackermann's 53-ball innings, which contained five fours and a six, was enough to tilt the balance in favour of the Foxes, despite Mullaney making his mark with the ball by taking 2-17. Leics vs Notts scorecard