45-year-old allrounder takes 2 for 22 with out conceding a boundary as Hampshire stumble to defeat
Kent 176 for six (Robinson 48, Denly 44, Bell-Drummond 42, Crane 3-23) beat Hampshire 138 for 9 (Klaassen 4-32) by 38 runs
For the final three years Stevens has advised anybody who would hear – and lots who would not, together with Kent’s teaching workers – that T20 is his favorite format and that he ought to have been a part of their facet, however his returns with the bat had tailed off from 2015-17 and he had performed an more and more peripheral position with the ball. He had gained the competitors twice, however these days had been lengthy gone.
An unsuccessful mortgage spell at Derbyshire in 2019 appeared to verify he was now not the white-ball drive that had as soon as come near an England cap and together with his Championship bowling as potent as ever, Kent opted to handle his workload and seemed the opposite approach. He had first fallen out of the facet when injured in 2018: “After I got here again, the children had been doing okay they usually simply mentioned ‘we will give them a little bit of a go’,” he mentioned. “I get it, however I am simply gutted.”
However Stevens’ scriptwriters have a penchant for the romantic. D’Arcy Quick and James Vince – one of many Blast’s greatest opening pairs on paper – had tucked into Klaassen and Grant Stewart within the first six overs and Stevens’ arrival within the seventh was designed to restrict the harm, on a pitch that suited pace-off choices all through the night time.
“From the Nackington Street Finish, Darren Stevens,” declared the bottom’s announcer to the loudest cheer of the night time. After which, the inevitable: a size ball simply outdoors leg stump to the left-hander, a tickle down the leg facet, a clear catch from Robinson and a joyous celebration. Quick stood perplexed, satisfied the ball had flicked his pad slightly than his inside edge, however by the point he had dragged himself off the Kent devoted had been one in music: “There’s just one Darren Stevens”.
Sam Northeast, who had spoken about his difficulties dealing with his nice mate Stevens after inviting him onto the Two Hacks, One Professional podcast final yr, was the brand new man at No. 3. He punched his first ball for a pair however struggled to get the subsequent 4 away, managing solely three dots and a single. “I am feeling good as hell,” Lizzo sang over the PA system on the finish of the over and Stevens will need to have been too.
Stevens was backed up by Logan, a tall left-arm spinner from Wakefield who was born six months after Stevens’ first-class debut, whose three overs would value solely 14 runs as he nagged away on a size, and Stevens conceded solely 5 from his second over, altering his grip and his tempo and bowling to his area.
The strain advised as Northeast hacked Logan to long-off, working in off the rope, and with Vince too shedding his fluency, he determined to take a size ball from Stevens on; Cox ran in to take the catch at deep midwicket, and the celebrations resumed. When Klaassen returned to take two wickets within the fifteenth over, Hampshire nonetheless hadn’t discovered the rope because the fielding restrictions had been lifted and regardless of Joe Weatherley’s late flourish, they had been all the time a great distance brief.
Matt Curler is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98