Howell's four-for helps Gloucestershire sink Spitfires at Cheltenham

Benny Howell took four wickets as Gloucestershire secured a six-wicket win over Kent in Cheltenham

Howell's four-for helps Gloucestershire sink Spitfires at Cheltenham
Gloucestershire take on Kent in Cheltenham (image source: Harry Trump/Stringer/Getty Images)

Gloucestershire claimed their first victory in the 2017 T20 Blast, after defeating the Kent Spitfires by six wickets at Cheltenham College.

The home side won the toss and elected to bowl on a slightly overcast afternoon, restricting the Spitfires to 152-8 from their 20 overs before achieving their target on the first ball of the final over.

Benny Howell was the star for Gloucestershire, taking four wickets from his four overs, as well as hitting crucial runs towards the end of the successful chase.

Howell takes four as Kent let slip strong start

Kent got their innings off to a flyer, with Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drummond sharing in a 45-run opening stand, before the latter was dismissed by David Payne for 16 in the sixth over. Denly had been the major aggressor during the powerplay and when he was Howell's first victim in 7th over the hosts had a foothold in the game.

The Kent skipper Sam Northeast was next to go, falling to the same bowler and catcher combination of Howell and Tom Smith for just five, and when New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham edged Chris Liddle behind for nine, Kent's strong start had resulted in them falling to 84-4.

Howell celebrates a Kent wicket with skipper Michael Klinger (image source: Harry Trump/Stringer/Getty Images)

Alex Blake fell cheaply to an excellent catch from Smith before Sam Billings and Darren Stevens got the Kent innings going back in the right direction. England keeper Billings made 36 before offering a steepling catch to Matt Taylor, who obliged, with Matt Coles following two balls later to complete Howell's four-for.

Stevens' knock of 19 finished with a tame shot which went straight into the hands of Michael Klinger, meaning only some late lusty blows from Kiwi quick Adam Milne fired Kent past 150.

The Colonel comes up trumps as hosts claim first win

Chasing what looked like a below-par target, Gloucestershire made a solid yet circumspect start to their chase, with Klinger and Phil Mustard taking just 17 from the first three overs.

Mustard then took a liking to Neesham, hitting a pair of fourth over boundaries, before Klinger ran down the track and was bowled by spinner James Tredwell to end an opening stand of 35.

Phil Mustard finds the boundary at Cheltenham (image source: Harry Trump/Stringer/Getty Images)

'The Colonel' Mustard continued to find the boundary following the powerplay, and fell just short of a deserved half-century when plinking a delivery from Imran Qayyum to Northeast at cover.

It was then over to Ian Cockbain to pick up the slack, and he did just that, with the underrated batsman making 31 before falling to an audacious one-handed grab from Coles at mid-off which left the home side needed just 45 for victory.

Chasing around a run-a-ball during the final six overs, Gloucestershire's only blemish was losing Howell to a catch on the boundary during the penultimate over.

Joining the excellent Cameron Bancroft (34*), Jack Taylor inside edged his first delivery, at the beginning of the final over, down the fine-leg boundary to hand Gloucestershire their first win of the competition.

Kent will hope to get back to winning ways when they take on Surrey at The Oval on Friday evening, while Gloucestershire entertain Sussex in their third game of the competition on Sunday in Cheltenham once more.

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