Kent 259-5 Somerset 222 <i>(Kent win by 37 runs)</i>: Dexter shows the discipline to punish wasteful Somerset

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The Independent Online

A brave performance by Somerset opener Craig Kieswetter could not prevent Kent from cruising to victory in the delayed Friends Provident Trophy quarter-final yesterday.

Kieswetter passed fifty for the first time in any form of cricket this season, but the only support he found came from his captain Justin Langer with whom he shared in a second-wicket stand of 80 runs off 18 overs.

However, Langer fell to the fifth ball of James Tredwell's first over, the Australian edging a catch to wicketkeeper Geraint Jones when trying to run the ball down to third man, and Somerset's fortunes fell.

Thereafter the visitors' big hitters came and went; James Hildreth, Ian Blackwell, Zander de Bruyn and Kent old boy Ben Phillips. The fall of Kieswetter was the last straw, hitting across the line and top edging a catch to wide mid-on having made 90 off 119 balls.

Earlier, Neil Dexter had scored a well-timed hundred, reaching three figures off the last ball of the Kent innings. It helped them set a challenging target for Somerset on a pitch that had originally been prepared for a Second XI match between Kent and a combined Northamptonshire and Yorkshire team before this tie was switched from Canterbury because rainwater had got under the covers on Wednesday night.

That Second XI match was called off shortly after midday yesterday, with the Combined side on 119 for 9, leaving Kent's Martin Saggers stranded a tantalising one wicket away from claiming all 10 in the innings.

At least Kent went on to justify the cancellation of the lesser fixture. They got off to a good start with openers Rob Key and Joe Denly putting on 68 before the latter was bowled by Alfonso Thomas.

Key was then joined by Dexter with whom he added 104 in 20 overs for the second wicket before the Kent captain was caught behind by Kieswetter off Phillips.

Dexter kept his head and his wicket as he nursed the rest of the Kent innings on the way to only the second one-day hundred of his career. He spent two hours at the crease, exploding into action only to clout three sixes and five fours. The rest of the time he was content to work the ball for ones and twos, yet still reached the mark off 113 balls.

Phillips finished with two wickets but the wicketless Charl Willoughby was the pick of the attack, his 10 overs costing a mere 24 runs. In the end Kent ran out comfortable winners, bowling out Somerset with 25 balls to spare.

* Durham will face Kent in the semi-finals of the Friends Provident Trophy while Yorkshire travel to Essex. The ties will be played on 4 and 5 July.

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