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Spitfires' quarter-final hopes shot down by heavy Sussex loss
KENT'S hopes of reaching the knock-out stages of the Friends Life T20 were effectively sunk by Sussex Sharks at Hove on Friday night.
The Sharks beat Kent by a record 83 runs to leave the Spitfires with just two wins from seven of ten matches.
Kent skipper Rob Key said: “They were just far too good for us today. We had to be at the top of our game. We weren't and they smacked us all round the park.
“They are one of the better sides we have played. In this competition so far, they are the best side we have played against and they are up there with the other teams from years gone by.”
Aided by some shoddy bowling, the unbeaten Sharks propelled themselves to their second-highest T20 score of 212-6.
Sussex's batsmen seized the initiative from the start – 20 coming from Matt Coles' second over – and never relented.
Luke Wright went cheaply trying a farmyard heave across a straight one from Adam Ball for 10, but Chris Nash clocked up 54 from 38 balls while Matt Prior smashed everything within reach to register 46 from 20.
Man of the Match Murray Goodwin picked up the mantel after Prior holed out and replaced brawn with brains as he guided balls into gaps beautifully in a 31-ball 68 not out.
The Kent bowling figures did not make for pleasant viewing.
Adam Ball and Simon Cook picked up three wickets each but Ball conceded 38 from three and Cook, 41 from four.
Key said: “As a captain you just have to take punts and hope one of your bowlers stems the flow, and if they don't you're chasing a bit of leather unfortunately.”
Kent struggled to find the boundary in response and wickets tumbled as they tried to force the pace.
Key said: “You have to go and have a swing and you either get close or you get nowhere. Obviously we got nowhere tonight.”
Northeast bashed a sprightly 17 at the top of the order before he was trapped LBW by Amjad Khan and Stevens tried his best to keep with the rate, adding 26 from 15.
Billings top scored with 38 from 36 balls.
Between the end of the ninth and 16th overs, Kent scored just 29, lost six wickets and hit no boundaries.
Debutant Michael Rippon strangled the runs, taking four for 23, as Kent were bowled out for 129.
Kent face Surrey at the Oval on Thursday.
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