KENT Spitfires’ hopes of grabbing the last quarter-final place in the Vitality Blast were dashed by the Somerset juggernaut as the runaway South Group winners pulled off a 15-run win at Taunton.

Will Smeed led a typical assault by the home side after losing the toss, smashing 61 off 28 balls, while Sean Dickson (41), Tom Kohler-Cadmore (31) and Lewis Gregory (37) made significant contributions to a score of 221 for seven.  Grant Stewart claimed four for 48, but left-arm spinner George Linde was the pick of the Kent bowlers with two for 25.

In reply, the Spitfires, looking to overtake Essex in the table, posted 206 for seven, Joey Evison cracking 46 off 24 balls, Jack Leaning 41 and skipper Sam Billings 36. It was Somerset’s 12th victory in 14 group matches, a record for the competition.

Despite claiming the early wicket of Tom Banton, caught and bowled off a waist-high Grant Stewart full toss, the visitors were unable to prevent Somerset scoring 63 off the initial six-over power-play.

Smeed was soon taking advantage of a true batting pitch with a short boundary on the town side of the ground. He and Kohler-Cadmore responded to the loss of Banton with a string of sweetly-struck boundaries.

Both cleared the ropes in the power play and had taken the score to 72 in the eighth over when Kohler-Cadmore was caught at long-on off Stewart, having faced just 18 balls.

Smeed went past 2,000 T20 runs with his fourth six, launched over cover off Stewart, before going to a 23-ball fifty that delighted a packed crowd at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

Kent’s hopes of chasing it down suffered an early blow when opener Tawanda Muyeye, already dropped by Dickson at deep mid-wicket, hit a six off Matt Henry’s first ball of the second over before lifting a catch to mid-on off the next delivery.

Alex Blake threatened briefly, smashing a big six off Henry in racing to 24 off just 10 balls before being run out backing up as the New Zealand seamer fingertipped a drive from Billings onto the stumps.

Somerset regained control and Evison’s impressive effort ended when he was caught off Henry to kill off Kent hopes.