Somerset suffer Vitality Blast setback as Kent's Cox hits career best
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Jordan Cox smashed a career-best 94 to lead South Group strugglers Kent to a surprise 32-run Vitality Blast victory over Somerset at Taunton.
The visitors posted 202-5 after losing the toss and Somerset could only manage 170 for nine in reply.
It was only the Spitfire's second group victory in eight games and a second defeat in seven for the home side.
Kent made a scratchy start in excellent batting conditions, failing to score a boundary off the first three overs and managing just 13 runs.
Craig Overton's introduction to the attack saw Joe Denly straight drive his first ball for four and Tawanda Muyeye scoop a six before being caught next ball at extra cover for 10.
Off the following delivery Grant Stewart miscued Overton to cover and at the end of the fourth over the Spitfires were 25-2.
Denly hit sixes over long-on off first Roelof van der Merwe and then Josh Davey but fell for 41 in the 12th over, caught off Overton at deep mid-wicket.
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But Cox was starting to time the ball sweetly and moved to a 29-ball half-century.
Sam Billings was bowled aiming to reverse sweep Van der Merwe, but Cox was dropped on 53 by Lewis Gregory at mid-off.
After 17 overs, Kent looked short of par on 148-5, but Cox hit two sixes off Davey and the same over, which cost 24, saw George Linde clear the ropes before collecting another boundary.
The inspired Cox then hit three sixes in the same Ben Green over to move within sight of a century.
But the experienced Peter Siddle held his nerve to concede only five in a final over that saw the Cox run-out attempting to keep the strike with a two to fine leg.
Somerset's reply got off to a poor start when Will Smeed was bowled by Linde, but out marched Rilee Rossouw to hit two of the next three balls for six.
Tom Banton hit successive fours off Fred Klaassen in the third over, only to edge behind off the final delivery to leave his side 25-2.
With only two runs added, off-spinner Jack Leaning bowled Rossouw, aiming a huge heave over the leg-side.
Tom Abell reverse swept Leaning for four and six to take Somerset to 44-3 at the end of the power play, but Tom Lammonby then fell to the same shot, pinned lbw by Qais Ahmad.
Lewis Gregory dispatched the leg-spinner for two maximums before top-edging a catch to wicketkeeper Billings off Stewart and at halfway Somerset were 79-5.
When Abell (43) top-edged a pull off Klaassen to deep square and Van der Merwe fell to a Billings catch, the hosts were in dire straits.
There was a moment of controversy when Green, on 25, appeared to be caught on the deep cover boundary by Leaning off Milnes, but the umpires judged his foot had touched the rope.
It mattered little as, despite Green hitting 40 off 28 balls, Kent's bowlers closed out the game for a comfortable success.