Spitfires taken down in One Day Cup
Spitfires taken down in One Day Cup

Chris Liddle claimed five for 36 as Gloucestershire claimed an unlikely Royal London One-Day Cup win over Kent by 11 runs in glorious Bristol sunshine.

Michael Klinger’s 134 looked to have paved the way for a challenging Gloucestershire total after they have been asked to bat first. But a flurry of late wickets saw Matt Coles finish with four for 57 and hosts restricted to 275 for eight, no more than a par score in the conditions.

It didn’t look like proving enough as Daniel Bell-Drummond followed up his tons against Somerset and Sussex with 90, off 108 balls, including 8 fours. With Sean Dickson (50) and Sam Northeast (44) lending good support, Kent looked to be cruising.

But Liddle had other ideas and from 200 for two in the 39th over, bowling a telling spell from the Ashley Down Road End as the visitors collapsed spectacularly, closing on 264 for nine.

The win was the Gloucestershire’s second in the competition and kept alive their slim hopes of a top three finish in the South Group, while Kent must accept elimination before the knock-out stage, having won only one of their first five games.

Klinger could hardly have done more, reaching his 16th List A hundred off 123 balls, with 8 fours and 3 sixes, to help take the home side’s score to 260 for three before he was out.

The 36-year-old Australian hit three of his sixes into the flats at the Ashley Down Road End of the Brightside Ground, his favourite one-day shot at the venue, and progressed with increasing assurance on an excellent batting pitch.

Chris Dent (43) and Ian Cockbain (35) shared useful partnerships, but when Klinger was caught at deep mid-wicket off Joe Denly it signalled a rapid transformation in fortunes.

Far from building on their captain’s efforts with some big hitting at the end, Gloucestershire lost five wickets in less than two overs as Coles and James Harris (two for 28) put themselves on hat-tricks.

With the sun still shining in a cloudless sky, a target of 276 did not appear looked likely to test Kent’s strong batting line-up..

They lost Joe Denly to a careless shot off Liddle with the total on 64, but Bell-Drummond, who survived a couple of early scares, and Dickson then put together a stand of 89 in 17.3 overs.

Dickson perished the ball after reaching a 62-ball half-century, with 3 fours and a six, picking out George Haskins at deep mid-wicket to give left-arm spinner Tom Smith a wicket.

By the time Bell-Drummond was brilliantly caught low down by Klinger at extra-cover off Liddle, Kent had posted 200 and needed a further 76 from 11.4 overs.

Northeast was established and playing well. His fourth six, over long-on off Jack Taylor was one of the biggest of the match.

Darren Stevens was visibly angry with himself when caught behind off Liddle trying to run the ball down to third-man and at 217 for four, Kent were far from comfortable.

Soon it was Northeast trudging back to the pavilion having smashed Liddle straight to long-on where Jack Taylor took the catch. From looking in total command, the visitors were suddenly under pressure at 220 for five.

More poor shots accounted for Matt Coles and Alex Blake and Gloucestershire sensed their chance. The Kent tail-enders flailed wildly without success and the game had been turned on it head.

Gloucestershire head coach Richard Dawson said: “It wasn’t until late in the day that I felt we had a chance of winning. I’ll take the victory even though I’m not quite sure how it happened.

“It was a battle and Chris Liddle changed the game with one spell. He varied his pace really well was smart in how he bowled his cutters.

“We kept going and once we got a sniff we were good enough to capitalise on it. It keeps us in the competition and makes Friday’s home game with Somerset even more appetising.

“Michael Klinger played well against some good Kent bowling and enabled us to put a decent score on the board. We now want to put together a run – and that means beating Somerset.”

Kent head coach Matt Walker said: “I hope the players are as puzzled as I am about how we didn’t win that match. They need to look at themselves and take responsibility for their own games because there are clearly areas we need to improve on.

“They are a great bunch and we are not the sort to take strips off them in the dressing room walls when things are not going to plan. We haven’t got it right in this competition and, while once we are on the bus we move on, I would like to think a few players will be taking a long hard look at themselves in the mirror tonight.

“We pride ourselves on being a very good chasing team, but we are far from it at the moment. If we think we are good enough to just turn up and chase down 275 without making the big moments count we are in for a shock and that’s what happened.

“It has been a really disappointing campaign for us with the same mistakes being made. Now we need to show a bit of pride in our final games before ensuring we are a lot better when the T20 competition comes around.”