Kent 330 for 6 (Leaning 87, Bell-Drummond 65, Blake 62) beat Surrey 243 for 7 (Patel 68, Clark 55, Parkinson 4-43) by 87 runs
Denly – the nephew of Joe Denly, who missed this game through injury – marked his debut by taking a wicket with his third ball. Brought on to bowl his left-arm spin when Surrey were 176 for 4 after 35 overs, he bowled Cameron Steel for 25 through an attempted paddle-sweep and then almost bowled Ben Geddes with a superb delivery as he went on to record a wicket maiden.
Geddes did swing him for six before being bowled by Parkinson for 17 and Clark hit Australian fast bowler James Bazley for two big sixes and departed disgruntled after mis-hitting a waist-high full toss from Hamidullah Qadri to long on.
Blake later took a brilliant diving catch on the long off boundary to dismiss Conor McKerr off Parkinson, who then hastened Surrey’s demise by bowling Dan Moriarty, and the match ended when Yousef Majid was bowled by Qadri, who finished with 3 for 50.
Surrey’s chase began badly, with Dom Sibley edging a Grant Stewart outswinger behind to go for 5 and although Patel and Rory Burns added 98 for the second wicket – with Patel twice muscling Qadri’s off spin for legside sixes – the pair never really got on top of Kent’s bowling, with Qadri finally bowling Burns for 43 as the left-hander tried to cut a ball that was too full for the shot.
Ben Foakes made only 7 before falling to Parkinson, leg-before sweeping, and Patel then fell in Nathan Gilchrist’s first over, skying to point after facing 67 balls.
Kent’s excellent total was built around stands of 113 and 88 for the second and third wickets, off 19 and 13 overs respectively, and following a solid opening partnership of 48 between Bell-Drummond and Ben Compton, who made 27 before clipping Moriarty’s left-arm spin to wide mid on.
Bell-Drummond’s fluent 78-ball effort included six fours and it was something of a surprise when he went back to Steel’s leg spin and was bowled by a ball that turned appreciably to hit the top of off stump.
Leaning had by then driven Steel high over extra cover for six but it was the arrival of Blake at No. 4 which brought Kent’s real acceleration towards 300 and beyond.
Blake warmed up by smearing and pulling successive Steel deliveries for four and when Dunn replaced him the powerful left-hander crunched the seamer brutally back over his head for a huge straight six.
Two balls later Blake launched Dunn for another six over long on and then cut the last ball of the over for four to race to 44 and Kent’s total to 229 for 2 with ten overs remaining.
Young slow left armer Majid’s reintroduction to the attack was greeted by a Blake reverse hit for four and a more orthodox lofted drive over extra cover to complete a 37-ball fifty. There was one more outrageous reverse scoop for four off Clark before Blake’s fine innings was ended by a clever boundary-edge catch by Patel, who threw the ball up as he stepped over the rope and completed the catch after he had jumped back on to the field of play.
By then Leaning had also gone, skying an attempted pull at Clark to keeper Foakes, but a late flurry was provided by Stewart, with a clubbed straight six off Clark in a 13-ball 26, and by Harry Finch’s inventive 34 off 17 balls.
A dramatic final over brought 20 runs as Finch ramped paceman McKerr for four, slashed him over point for six, drove him to extra cover for another four, and was leg-before to the penultimate ball trying to reverse-paddle. That meant one ball for Denly to face on his senior Kent debut and the teenager, a left-hander, cut away for four a low full toss with a real flourish.