DURHAM suffered a second successive defeat in their Royal London One-Day Cup campaign when they were edged out by two wickets by Kent under the lights at Canterbury.
Chasing 272 for victory, Kent got home with four balls to spare courtesy of an unbeaten 38 off 33 balls by James Tredwell, after Durham had looked on course for victory.
Needing 5.5 an over for victory, Kent made a circumspect start to their pursuit against some accurate new ball bowling from John Hastings and Chris Rushworth, who made the best of an increasingly helpful pitch.
With 28 on the board Sam Northeast’s rush of blood led to his departure for 10 when off-balance on the drive against Rushworth.
Brendan Nash looked equally out of nick and survived 20 deliveries before spooning a catch to point after being squared up on the back foot by Paul Collingwood.
Ben Stokes struck with his third delivery, nipping a delivery back up the St Lawrence slope to peg back Rob Key’s middle stump and send the Kent captain packing for 47.
Darren Stevens then holed out to long leg to give Collingwood a second scalp and when Stokes jagged another off the seam to rearrange Alex Blake’s stumps to make it 108 for five, a home win looked unlikely.
Fabian Cowdrey’s bright stay for 28 ended when his attempted paddle skied to the wicketkeeper, leaving Sam Billings to press the run-rate accelerator with a brisk 48-ball half-century which included five fours and a six. His stay ended for 64 when he was caught at deep extra cover off Rushworth - but Kent refused to yield.
Calum Haggett and Tredwell plundered sixes in the 44th over, bowled by Stokes, as the hosts sneaked past the Duckworth/Lewis target for the first time in their reply.
Hasting replaced Stokes at the Pavilion End and ended Haggett’s cameo 36 with a yorker, but Spitfires remained in touch and, with three overs remaining, needed 17 with two wickets still in hand.
A Tredwell boundary tilted the balance Kent’s way, then Rushworth, the pick of Durham’s attack with three for 59, leaked another vital four to Tredwell - so Kent needed three runs from Hastings’ final over.
Mitchell Claydon clipped a first-ball single, leaving Tredwell, fresh from his county championship loan stint at Sussex, to win it with a punched four through midwicket.
Earlier, Durham, batting first after winning the toss, had also made a poor start by losing skipper Mark Stoneman to the second ball of the match from former Durham seamer Claydon. Shouldering arms to a full-length in-ducker, left-handed Stoneman departed lbw without scoring.
Visiting number three Calum MacLeod should have followed suit when he edged Claydon’s fifth delivery into the cordon - but Stevens, diving to his right, grassed a difficult chance which would have made it nought for two.
Macleod and Phil Mustard added 73 for the third wicket before Mustard miscued a Stevens’ length ball to Claydon at mid-on.
England discard Stokes joined Macleod to add 86,MacLeod reaching an 85-ball 50, while Stokes passed the landmark from 55 deliveries.
Stokes perished to the next delivery when, in attempting an airy drive, he dragged one from Haggett onto middle stump to make it 160 for three.
Four balls later, Haggett had Collingwood held by Key at short mid-on and Gordon Muchall soon followed when his lofted cover drive sailed to Cowdrey stationed at deep cover.
Hastings heaved and missed to be bowled by Claydon, then MacLeod, in looking to reach three figures in style, slogged leg-side against Doug Bollinger to be snaffled on the ropes by Blake for a solid 94 from 139 balls - including eight fours.
Haggett, Claydon and Bollinger claimed two wickets apiece, while Stevens, the most economical bowler on show, removed Mustard, to leave Kent with a target that proved just within their compass.