Derbyshire folded dramatically to a combination of spin and seam as Kent cruised to a seven wicket victory in the Division Two match at Derby.
James Tredwell and Calum Haggett took four wickets each, the latter a career-best 4-15, as Derbyshire lost seven for 45 in 93 balls to be skittled for 94 leaving Kent with a target of 175.
Daniel Bell-Drummond made a composed unbeaten 80 from 99 balls before Alex Blake sealed Kent’s second win of the season in style with three consecutive sixes off leg-spinner Matt Critchley.
There had been no sign that Kent would win so convincingly as Wayne Madsen and Neil Broom cruised along at five an over but the wheels came flying off once Tredwell had broken through.
Broom edged a quicker ball to first slip where Adam Ball took a sharp one-handed catch and the decision to bring on Haggett was rewarded immediately as Wayne Madsen misread the length and was lbw for 37.
Billy Godleman had recovered from the blow on his left forearm which forced him to retire hurt the previous evening but made only three before he was lbw pushing at Tredwell who ended Derbyshire’s hopes of setting a more demanding target when he bowled Shiv Thakor for 10.
The end came five overs later as both Critchley and Ben Cotton played back instead of forward to Haggett and were lbw leaving Kent with 71 overs to win the game.
On an overcast, drizzly day with the floodlights on, it was never going to be entirely straightforward, particularly as Joe Denly was back in Kent with his wife and new-born baby, but Derbyshire needed early wickets to have any chance.
Bell-Drummond and Sean Dickson denied them until the 12th over when Dickson tried to run Tom Taylor to third man and edged into his stumps but Derbyshire could not build up any pressure.
A wet ball did not help and Bell-Drummond cut and drove Taylor for three consecutive fours on his way to a 68 ball 50 and Ball helped him take Kent to 100 before he was caught on the crease by Tony Palladino.
Bell-Drummond paced his innings expertly, setting the platform for the violent assault that carried Kent to victory on a tide of sixes, first from skipper Sam Northeast and then by Blake who dispatched the only three balls he faced from Critchley over the ropes to take his side home with a minimum of 38.3 overs to spare.
It was an impressive performance and Haggett thought the seeds of victory were sown on the third evening. “To get three wickets last night was a big factor, it put us in a good place and we managed to keep things going.
“We bowled pretty well as a group and we got the rewards and I thought we bowled a bit straighter than in the first inninngs.
“It started to keep a bit low and the odd one popped and thankfully it was my day. Treddy (James Tredwell) was getting some spin as well and we hit our areas better.
“It’s a good confidence-booster and we are in a good place at the moment but we know we need to keep putting in the work.”
Madsen said: “James Tredwell mixed his pace up well and bowled well into the rough and when Haggett came on he bowled at the stumps and was getting it to jag back and made it difficult.
“Possibly we were caught on the back foot and maybe have to get out of our crease a bit more but to be fair he bowled really well and unfortunately we weren’t up to it.
“We thought 200 was going to be a good score and we would be able to bowl them out but they came out and played positively. We weren’t helped that we had to change the ball a few times with the wet outfield but it was disappointing not to get enough in the right areas to trouble them.
“I think we have to be better than that, especially on a wicket which has deteriorated, but I do think for us a team there are postives to take from this. Shiv (Thakor) with his hundred and five-for, he’s really played well for us this year.
“I look back at the way we bowled for the first 100 overs, our disciplines and plans were spot on , but the game got away from us at the crucial times on day three and going into day four.”