Kent vs Gloucestershire

Match info: English Domestic Royal London One-Day Cup 2014 at St. Lawrence Ground - Quarter Final 4

Date: 29th Aug 2014 Umpires: P Willey and S J O'Shaughnessy

50-over match

Home team and score Away team score

Kent

242 All out (48.3 Overs)

Result

Gloucestershire

218 All out (47.3 Overs)

Kent win by 24 runs

  • Last Updated: August 29 2014, 22:14 BST

Sam Billings' thrilling 61 off 36 balls inspired Kent to victory against Gloucestershire by 24 runs in the Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-final under the Canterbury floodlights on Friday.

Sam Billings hits out on his way to 61 off 36 balls
Sam Billings hits out on his way to 61 off 36 balls

Sam Northeast (78) and Fabian Cowdrey (51) also batted well but it was Billings who provided crucial acceleration in the hosts' eventual 242 all out from 48.3 overs, securing Kent a first semi-final since 2008 - against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

Cowdrey then took two for 28 with his left-arm spin as Gloucestershire struggled to 218 all out from 47.3 overs in reply on a turgid, grassless pitch that made fluent strokeplay difficult.

Chris Dent hit 40 from 37 balls, with two sixes, and Gareth Roderick 43 but, with Kent captain Rob Key constantly rotating his bowlers, the home side maintained control in the field as Ben Harmison, who finished with three for 40, Adam Riley, Darren Stevens and David Griffiths also struck at important times to keep Gloucestershire pegged back.

Will Gidman and Benny Howell put on a determined 53 for the seventh wicket, after a slide to 125 for six, but Griffiths' perfect 85mph yorker in the 39th over to bowl Gidman for 39 left Gloucestershire, at 178 for seven, with too much to do in the last 10 overs.

Jack Taylor did offer defiant blows for six and four off Riley, but on 16 he nicked an expansive drive at Harmison to Billings behind the stumps and Howell's 33 ended when he was bowled by Mitch Claydon in the 47th over. The end soon came, with last man David Payne bowled by Griffiths.

The way Gloucestershire's batsmen struggled against a Kent attack missing both off-spinner James Tredwell, away on England one-day duty, and Doug Bollinger, the Australian fast bowler whose season as overseas player has been cut short by a call-up to a Champions League training camp by his Twenty20 franchise Hobart Hurricanes, showed just how well Billings played earlier in the day.

Billings struck three sixes and seven fours to dominate a match-turning stand of 82 in eight overs with Northeast, whose 123-ball innings, with six fours, anchored Kent's innings.

It had not started well for the home team, with Key and Harmison falling to successive balls in Payne's third over with the new ball. Key fell for two, edging a curious-looking paddle-pull to the wicketkeeper and Harmison, pushing forward to his first ball, was leg-before.

Cowdrey provided the initial impetus in a third-wicket stand of 106 with Northeast that gave Kent a platform for the acceleration that came so dramatically through Billings.

Cowdrey's 51 from 68 balls, with five fours, ended with a leading edge to short extra cover off Will Gidman in the 29th over, and Stevens holed out to long on for 12 in the 35th over after Kent opted to take their batting powerplay at 127 for three from 32 overs.

Billings, however, took two fours from the powerplay's last two balls, bowled by Payne, and this was the start of a magnificent display of clean hitting by the Kent wicketkeeper-batsman, who took his run tally in this year's Royal London Cup competition to 418 from just six innings, at an average of 104.5.

Two sixes were taken off Dent's left-arm spin in the 41st over and another six, plus a reverse sweep for four, came from off spinner Taylor as he sped to a 29-ball fifty.

Kent's lower order, though, fell away alarmingly after Northeast was bowled swinging at Craig Miles at 215, in the 43rd over, and Billings followed two overs later when he was lbw to the same bowler as he walked across his stumps in an effort to hit a full delivery away to leg.

Nine balls remained unbowled as the final four wickets fell cheaply, leaving them short of the 250 which had looked on the cards - not that it mattered in the final analysis.

Billings said: "It's nice to contribute and for us to get over the line. Gloucestershire hung in there, and fair play to them for that. It got a bit twitchy towards the end.

"The new regulations, with one less fielder outside the ring, does give you more options as a batsman, and it's just about backing yourself to take those options."

Kent captain Key added: "Away to Warwickshire is a chance to play at one of the great grounds in England, and at this stage of the competition they are all good sides. It will be an excellent opportunity for all our young players.

"We held our nerve well today, but it was a fairly stodgy pitch that was not easy to bat on."

Gloucestershire skipper Alex Gidman acknowledged his team had fallen a little short with the bat.

"We thought we had a good chance of chasing down that total, but Billings played a fine knock for them and we didn't have anyone who could match the two innings that he and Sam Northeast played," he said.