Kent shoot themselves in the foot while Middlesex edge derby


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The Independent Online

Kent's T20 hopes ended as they suffered two calamitous run-outs during a 23-run home defeat to Essex at Canterbury last night.

The Spitfires' fifth defeat of the campaign confirmed the exit of the 2007 champions, but Essex, could still qualify by beating Hampshire in tomorrow's final round of South Group games.

Sam Northeast and Darren Stevens were run out in embarrassing fashion in the space of three balls as Kent made 126 for 9 in reply to Essex's 149 for 5.

Middlesex pulled off a dramatic one-wicket victory over Surrey in the T20 London derby with just a single ball to spare. Even though progression to the knock-out phase was impossible for both sides, a Friday night crowd of 15,000 at the Oval were treated to a battle royale.

When Ollie Wilkin and Ollie Rayner came together with Middlesex, on 106 for 7, needing another 49 off 35 balls, the hosts appeared to be on course for their first win in seven games. But the eighth-wicket pair had other ideas, and the Panthers went into the final over needing just three. Both Rayner and Wilkin were then dismissed but Tom Smith steered them home.

The rest of last night's games were called off due to rain, or in the case of Sussex v Hampshire, abandoned.

Meanwhile, South Africa have prepared appropriately to topple the world No 1 Test side England this summer, thanks to their unconventional coach, Gary Kirsten. It is entirely consistent with Kirsten's CV, and character, that Graeme Smith and his team should have spent much of the past week treading the Alpine heights in Switzerland.

Kirsten arranged team bonding for South Africa's tourists to explore Mike Horn's hometown of Chateau d'Oex."It's something different and a little bit out of the box, but when you are in management you have to think out of the box," he said.