T20 Blast: Kent beat Somerset to qualify for quarter-finals

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Kent hang on to deny Somerset's thrilling comeback

Kent Spitfires became the sixth side to qualify for the T20 Blast quarter-finals with a final-ball victory over south group leaders Somerset.

The hosts made 231-5 at Canterbury, their joint-highest Twenty20 total, led by captain Sam Billings' unbeaten 57.

Somerset fell just short on 226-5 and must wait on Friday's results to see if they have a home tie in the last eight.

Elsewhere, Yorkshire Vikings and Sussex Sharks won to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stages intact.

The Vikings play defending champions Notts Outlaws at Headingley on Friday, with the winner sealing the last qualification place in the North Group.

Victory for Sussex against already eliminated Middlesex in the final round of fixtures will put them in the quarter-finals.

Durham Jets, Lancashire Lightning, Worcestershire Rapids, Somerset and Gloucestershire had all qualified before Thursday's matches.

Batting blitzes & three stunning catches

In a game which saw 457 runs, Somerset looked to be sliding towards defeat with 61 needed off the final three overs.

But captain Lewis Gregory's 44 off 15 balls left his side needing a six off the last delivery to tie.

Tom Abell could only dig out Mitch Claydon's yorker to give Kent victory by five runs.

Earlier, the Spitfires smashed 74 from the final 24 balls to equal their record total of 231, made against Surrey at The Oval in 2015.

Lack of discipline from Somerset's bowlers, who failed to cope with a greasy ball, saw Jerome Taylor removed from the attack for bowling back-to-back waist high no-balls.

A match-defining six-run penalty was also awarded by the umpires for a slow over-rate.

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'You'll not see a better catch than that all season!'

In the midst of the madness Jamie Overton took a wonderful catch on the boundary to dismiss Alex Blake, plucking the ball from high over his head while managing to stay inside the rope.

Imran Qayyum claimed an equally brilliant grab to give Kent an early wicket, running backwards at mid-on after Johann Myburgh had skied the ball miles into the air.

Wicketkeeper Billings capped an evening of spectacular fielding with a diving catch to dismiss the dangerous Corey Anderson.

Wins for Kent and Gloucestershire on Friday could scupper Somerset's chances of a quarter-final at Taunton. All three sides would be level on points, but Kent and Gloucestershire can pip Somerset with superior run-rates.

Willey shines for Yorkshire

Yorkshire warmed up for their showdown against Notts Outlaws with a seven-wicket victory at Northamptonshire Steelbacks.

England all-rounder David Willey smashed 79 off 44 balls and put on 150 with Adam Lyth (66) as the Vikings chased down Northants' 162-8 with more than four overs to spare.

Sussex also put themselves in pole position to go through on Friday with a four-wicket win at Gloucestershire.

Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan starred with 3-24 to restrict the hosts to 159-9 in Bristol, and Phil Salt's 60 from 30 deliveries helped Sussex to 160-6.

In Thursday's dead rubber, Essex Eagles chased 210 to beat Middlesex by six wickets at Lord's.

Who can qualify on Friday?

South group: Glamorgan, Sussex or Surrey.

North group: Yorkshire, Notts Outlaws or Birmingham Bears (can only go through with victory against Worcestershire and Yorkshire v Notts Outlaws ending in tie or no-result).

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