Surrey 251 for 7 (Foakes 82*) beat Kent 204 (Billings 69, Meaker 4-37, S Curran 3-43) by 44 runs (D/L method)
Ben Foakes added to his growing reputation with a highly-responsible 82 not out as Surrey kept alive their hopes of reaching the Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-finals by beating Kent Spitfires by 44 runs at the Kia Oval.
The 24-year-old Foakes, who hit a six and six fours from 80 balls, was joined in a sixth wicket stand of 79 in 11 overs by Sam Curran as Surrey rallied from 141 for 5 to reach 251 for 7 in an innings reduced to 41 overs by a delayed start and then two further rain interruptions.
In reply Kent could reach only 204 all out from 35.4 overs as they chased a Duckworth-Lewis adjusted target of 249, despite 69 from 65 balls from Sam Billings in his first appearance for the county this season following stints in the Indian Premier League and in England’s short one-day international series against Ireland.
Kent lost Daniel Bell-Drummond early, for 11, when he missed a hoick at Tom Curran, but Joe Denly played well for a 40-ball 34 before inside-edging into his stumps an attempted drive at Ravi Rampaul.
Sam Northeast put on 38 with Billings but was then run out for 17 when his partner refused a short single into the offside; Darren Stevens was leg-before for 5 to what looked to be a Scott Borthwick googly; and Alex Blake briefly glittered with three fours in a quickfire 22 before mishitting Sam Curran to mid on.
The same bowler castled Calum Haggett and, at 170 for 6 with ten overs left, Kent’s hopes rested with Billings and the tail.
Those hopes were extinguished when Sam Curran went around the wicket to have Billings caught on the pull by his brother Tom at long leg. Billings had struck three sixes and two fours but his dismissal was symptomatic of Kent’s profligate batting and they sit at the bottom of the South Group with just one win from six matches.
The end came soon afterwards with James Tredwell and Charlie Hartley removed for ducks and Matt Coles last out for a jaunty 25. Stuart Meaker, who had Coles caught behind hooking at a bouncer, finished with 4 for 37 and he and Sam Curran (3 for 43) were the pick of Surrey’s attack.
Sixteen runs had come from the first over of the match, with Jason Roy plundering three high-class boundaries off Coles after edging the paceman’s second ball just wide of a diving Tredwell at second slip. A clip through mid wicket, a back foot cover drive and a thundering pull were all despatched to the ropes with withering power and a huge total on a fine pitch looked certain.
Coles, however, hit back to concede just 12 runs from his next four new ball overs – an excellent effort – and Haggett, though expensive, snapped up the wicket of Mark Stoneman for 10 with a fine ball, brilliantly held by keeper Billings as he flung himself in front of slip.
The first of two rain interruptions came with Surrey on 58 for 1 off 7.4 overs and, by the time of the second, they were struggling at 115 from 20.2 with Stevens snaring both Kumar Sangakkara and Rory Burns in a typically canny spell of medium pace from the Vauxhall End.
Roy had also by then fallen for a 44-ball 44, caught at deep square leg off Ivan Thomas after failing to kick on from his flying start while both Sangakkara and Burns found it difficult to find fluency against the accurate Stevens and also a steady six-over spell by Thomas.
Hartley and Tredwell also began tightly but, after Borthwick had chipped Hartley’s whippy fast-medium to short mid wicket, a Surrey rally was launched by the in-form Foakes.
The right-handed keeper-batsman found a busy partner in Sam Curran and the sixth wicket pair added 79 in 11 overs to revive the innings. Foakes reached his fifty from 57 balls, with successive fours off Hartley, and the younger Curran brother drove Haggett and Tredwell for sixes to long off and long on respectively before, on 39 from 37 balls, edging the returning Coles to Billings who completed the catch at the second attempt.
Thomas removed Tom Curran in the closing overs but was also pulled superbly for six by Foakes as Surrey eventually hauled themselves past the 250 mark in what had been a stop-start innings, and not just because of the weather.
Most of Surrey’s innings was watched by 5,000 local schoolchildren, enthusiastically attending as part of the club’s annual Schools Day, but by the time Kent replied in warm afternoon sunshine they had long gone.