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Sam Billings, Daniel Bell-Drummond fifties help Kent to victory over Birmingham Bears


Report

Finals Day will be an all-southern affair for the first time in Blast history

Kent 162 for 7 (Billings 56, Bell-Drummond 53, Bresnan 4-26) beat Birmingham Bears 141 (Lintott 41*, Milnes 4-24) by 21 runs

Half-centuries to Sam Billings and Daniel Bell-Drummond helped Kent to a 21-run victory against Birmingham Bears, meaning that Finals Day will be an all-southern affair for the first time in Blast history.
The main story ahead of this Quarter-Final was Chris Woakes’ return to competitive action after seven weeks, and the early stages of the match suggested that he was going to steal the show. In his first over, he dismissed Zak Crawley and had Joe Denly dropped at slip with a delivery that the England selectors will no doubt hope he can replicate at the Oval in a week’s time. Three runs and a wicket off his first over, but that was as good as it was going to get for Woakes, and as it turned out, Birmingham.

Kent’s batting line-up is exceptional, consisting of a top four of Crawley, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Denly and Sam Billings, and on Friday night it was Bell-Drummond and Billings who led the way.

Just one boundary had come off the first four overs before the return of Danny Briggs to the attack prompted Bell-Drummond to dump him over square leg for consecutive sixes. However, just as Kent seemed to be wresting control of the contest, Tim Bresnan had Denly caught on the square-leg boundary to tip the momentum slightly back into Birmingham’s favor as the Powerplay ended with the score 46 for 2.

With the bounce making players look hastily, early, late, or just uncomfortable, Bell-Drummond was at ease. He struck three of Kent’s five sixes with two sweeps off Briggs and one scarcely believable sweep off Woakes, a normal, 85mph length delivery, slog-swept over midwicket.

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