Essex maintain their quarter-final push by beating Kent
|Friends Life t20, Canterbury|
|Essex 149-5 (20 overs) beat Kent 126-9 (20 overs) by 23 runs|
Essex kept alive their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the FL t20 as they recorded a comfortable 23-run win over Kent at Canterbury.
The visitors batted first and made 149-5 with Mark Pettini scoring 59 off 45 balls and Greg Smith adding 32.
Darren Stevens (3-13) was the pick of the Kent bowlers, although his side's batsmen struggled in their innings.
Geraint Jones top scored with 24 not out as Reece Topley took 3-19 to help restrict Kent to 126-9 off 20 overs.
James Franklin and David Masters also took two wickets apiece, while Kent batsmen Sam Northeast and Darren Stevens were both run out in the space of three balls.
Topley, 18, who is yet to make a County Championship appearance this season, has now taken 17 wickets in nine T20 games in 2012.
The victory keeps Essex third in the South Group, two points behind second-placed Hampshire with one match remaining.
However, a third-place finish could still be enough for Essex to qualify if other results go their way, although Kent's defeat ends their chances of advancing to the next phase.