Grant Stewart hit the six needed off the last ball as Kent secured a thrilling three-wicket Royal London Cup victory at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence as Yorkshire’s hopes of knockout cricket were dented.
Captain Joe Denly impressed by claiming 3-37 from nine overs of leg-spin as the Vikings, invited to bat, made 282-6 in 45 overs – Harry Duke top-scored with 85 – before the home target was adjusted to 297 in the same number of overs on DLS.
The former England batter then contributed a busy 61 to a successful chase which reached a thrilling conclusion as Italian all-rounder Stewart had to hit the final ball from Matthew Revis out of the park.
He did so with a pull over mid-wicket, ensuring the 11 runs needed from the last over were achieved, finishing unbeaten on 28 off 16 balls.
Yorkshire suffered their third defeat in six Group B matches, though this was far from a hammer blow in the race for a top three berth.
Results elsewhere were favourable, and even though Yorkshire have slipped to sixth in the table, two wins from the final two games will elevate them into the top three.
They are only one point behind Essex in third, the Eagles having played once more. In fact, four of the five teams above Yorkshire only have one game remaining.
Derbyshire at Chesterfield on Sunday (11am) is the next port of call.
Matthew Waite had a productive day with 31 not out and 3-53 from nine overs with the ball.
Yorkshire’s total was underpinned by Duke and supplemented by scores of 68 from opening partner Will Fraine and 61 on debut from left-hander Fin Bean, batting at number three.
Duke shared century stands with them both before an hour’s rain delay contributed to breaking the momentum of the innings and brought Kent back into things.
The Vikings were given an excellent platform by in-form openers Duke and Fraine, the pair sharing 118 inside 22 overs.
It was their second opening partnership above 100 in six RL50 innings, added to two more half-century stands.
Fraine played a couple of particularly eye-catching drives on the up, one for four over mid-off against the seam of Stewart and then the first of two sixes over long-off against Harry Podmore.
He pulled his other six over mid-wicket off Joey Evison.
Duke pulled his only six over square-leg off Indian quick Navdeep Saini, and he was strong square on both sides of the wicket and also affectively employed the scoop shot on a true pitch.
Following Fraine’s departure – trapped lbw by the off-spin of Hami Qadri – debutant Bean confidently started his first-team career.
The left-hander slog swept Qadri for six over square-leg and into the adjoining flats on the Old Dover Road side of this ground, and he was particularly strong through mid-wicket en-route to a run-a-ball fifty.
Earlier, Fraine’s fifty came off 56 and then Duke’s off 58. The latter went on to share 107 inside 17 overs with Bean.
Denly was the pick of Kent’s bowlers.
He sparked the loss of the five wickets for 26 runs – either side of an hour rain delay from 1.30pm – as Yorkshire fell from 225-1 in the 39th over to 251-6 in the 43rd.
Denly had both Bean and Duke caught at cover in the 39th, the latter off a top-edged sweep immediately before rain took the players off at 226-3.
When play resumed, he had George Hill lbw, while Saini and Stewart also struck.
However, Waite added his crucial unbeaten 31 off 19 balls to reinvigorate the innings alongside an unbeaten 13 off seven from Dom Bess.
Kent’s target was increased by 15 from Yorkshire’s 282-6, and it was made to look even bigger when Waite had Evison caught behind half-heartedly defending at an away-swinger – the first ball of the chase.
Some vicious pulling from wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson got Kent back in the game.
He hit three sixes over mid-wicket in 59 off 37 balls, two pulled and one lofted off Ben Coad and Tom Loten. One particularly meaty pull went over the aforementioned flats.
However, Robinson tried one legside shot too many in Loten’s second over and picked out Revis at deep square-leg, leaving the score at 91-2 in the 12th.
Denly was by no means as destructive as Robinson had been, but he started confidently and busily to put Kent in the box seat.
Strong on both sides of the wicket, he – like his keeper – took on the lead role, while understated left-hander Compton played second fiddle for a time.
By the time Denly reached his fifty, off 55 balls, Kent were 166-2 in the 26th over, needing 131 more.
Opener Compton grew in stature and reached his off 65 shortly afterwards, by which time Yorkshire needed a wicket (179-2 in the 28th).
And they didn’t just get one, they got two – both to Revis as the score fell to 195-4 in the 33rd, with both Denly and Alex Blake miscuing pulls to mid-on.
That significantly tightened things up, with Kent’s target becoming 84 off 10 overs.
Kent went seven overs with only one boundary scored from the start of the 30th over as the likes of Revis, Jack Shutt, Bess and Loten ramped up the pressure.
Waite bowled a scooping Compton for 81 before the target became 48 off five overs (249-5).
By this time, Harry Finch was unbeaten in the mid-thirties.
Stewart took Coad for a four and six late in the 43rd over to kick-start the thrilling climax.
Waite ousted Finch for 42 with the first ball of the 44th, caught in the deep – 274-6.
Stewart then hit Waite for six in the penultimate, the target becoming 11 off the last, before Podmore edged the first ball against Revis for four and was caught at deep mid-wicket off the second.
He later missed the fourth ball of the over and turned down a single off the penultimate to maintain the strike from Qadri.
?The all-rounder then hoisted the penultimate over the mid-wicket fence to seal the points for his side.