Daniel Bell-Drummond smashes 82 off 51 balls as Kent set Sussex 169 to win; Fred Klaassen (4-17) and Matt Milnes (3-22) then do the damage as Sussex bowled out for 157; Watch Kent versus Somerset in the final of the 2021 Vitality Blast from 6.15pm live on Sky Sports
Saturday 18 September 2021 17:43, UK
Kent made light work of Sussex in the second semi-final of Finals Day, winning by 21 runs to join Somerset in the Vitality Blast final to be played later on Saturday night.
Daniel Bell-Drummond smashed 82 off 51 balls to fire Kent up to a score of 168-8 after they won the toss and elected to make first use of the Edgbaston surface.
In reply, Sussex lost their big-hitting opening pair of Phil Salt (9) and Luke Wright (10) cheaply and, barring a 23-ball 41 from George Garton lower down the order, they offered little threat as they were ultimately bowled out for 147 in the final over.
There were concerns for Sussex as early as four overs into the contest, as either side of Garton (2-24) bowling Zak Crawley for nine, David Wiese and Tymal Mills had their opening overs go for 16 and 18 runs, respectively.
Bell-Drummond did the bulk of the damage, peppering the boundary on his way to a 29-ball fifty, although Garton did claim another victim in seeing the back of Joe Denly (3) early.
Sussex began to peg their opponents back, with Ravi Bopara (1-21) bowling Sam Billings for 14 and then the rapid left-armer Mills (3-33) claiming two in two balls in the following over to find himself on a hat-trick - Jack Leaning bowled for a duck and Jordan Cox nicking off first ball.
But 45-year-old Darren Stevens (47no off 28) came in and got the Kent innings back on track in a quick-fire 42 run stand with Bell-Drummond. Chris Jordan (1-36) finally accounted for the later in the 17th over, but Stevens continued to pick up useful boundaries to finish with seven for his innings.
Facing a stiffer target than that which Somerset chased down to beat Hampshire in the first semi-final, Sussex required a fast start to their chase but instead lost their powerful opening pair inside the opening four overs.
Salt - in his last Blast game for the club before leaving for Lancashire - was the first to go, edging behind when charging down the track to Fred Klaassen (4-17) in the second over, while Sussex skipper Wright was bowled by Matt Milnes (3-22).
Klaassen quickly picked up another, Delray Rawlins (2) caught at deep point, while Wiese (3) was bowled by the evergreen and always-involved Stevens (1-22). Bopara (22) was next, after a couple of heavy hits, nicking off to legspinner Qais Ahmed (1-32) in the ninth over to leave Sussex reeling at 57-5.
Garton further demonstrated why he is such a highly-regarded allrounder, smashing four boundaries and three sixes in an entertaining cameo that briefly offered Sussex hope. But, immediately after clearing the fence for the third time, Milnes picked him up caught at short third-man next ball.
Jordan - also in his final outing for Sussex, before joining Surrey - struck a big six over deep midwicket, but was gone four balls later to Klaassen as he and Milnes cleaned up the tail to clinch a comprehensive vctory.
Watch continued coverage of Vitality Blast Finals Day live on Sky Sports Cricket.