Leeward Islands v Kent (Tues, 1pm)

Tuesday 6th February 2018

FGS Plant Tour

Leeward Islands v Kent (Tues, 1pm)

Kent are set to name an unchanged side as they aim to defeat hosts Leeward Islands Hurricanes on the FGS Plant Tour in Antigua today.

Alex Blake’s unbeaten 74 in a gritty stand with Adam Rouse saw the tourists home against a star-studded Jamaica side on Sunday after career-best performances from Ivan Thomas and Joe Denly with the ball.

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Defeating a side with several internationals has boosted confidence for the Kent squad and assistant coach Allan Donald said batting conditions have been tricky at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

“We’re delighted with the win against Jamaica, the pitch was definitely drier than the one before so you can contemplate having a bat first but the bowlers were excellent.

“Ivan Thomas was fantastic and bowled much better than in the Guyana match which was a bit of a nervy start for him but he really settled down after a really good training week.

“Mitch Claydon bowled a good opening spell, kept things simple and didn’t concede many runs.

“Calum Haggett’s spell to take two wickets at the Curtly Ambrose End was also encouraging to see.

“The game was busted open by Joe Denly and his leggies. He bowled really well and put Jamaica on the back foot with two wickets in his first over.

“I was bemused why the Jamaicans came out ultra-aggressive and played a few poor shots but captain Joe was fantastic.

“I look forward to working with Joe and think he could be an asset for us in four-day cricket. He has great control, composure and I was very, very impressed.”

“In reply, we got off to the worst possible start before lunch. It was a very nervous half-hour we had to contend with. Having bowled them out and come straight back out to bat was tricky.

“We will be playing on a lot of used wickets with so many games in such a short space of time.

“At 50-odd for 5, Alex Blake and Adam Rouse’s partnership was vital as it was not easy for new batsmen to come in and Calum did well to support Blakey who deservedly won Man of the Match.

“The atmosphere in the camp is good and the win will be a huge confidence-booster ahead of a tough game against a good Leeward Islands side.

“There’s been a fair amount of rain around so we couldn’t practice on Monday after heavy rain but that could be a blessing in disguise to give the guys a rest.”

Opponents Leeward Islands Hurricanes have won two of their three Regional Super50 group games so far: victories against USA and Jamaica were followed by a 19-run defeat to unbeaten group leaders Guyana on Sunday.

Off-spinning all-rounder Rakheem Cornwall has been the standout performer so far with centuries against Guyana and USA as well as conceding less than three an over with the ball.

Former West Indies captain Marlon Samuels has also been in the runs, hitting an unbeaten hundred against Jamaica. Left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein has eight wickets and is their top wicket-taker.

Probable Kent XI: Joe Denly (c), Daniel Bell-Drummond, Zak Crawley, Sean Dickson, Alex Blake, Will Gidman, Adam Rouse (wk), Calum Haggett, James Tredwell, Mitch Claydon, Ivan Thomas.

Possible Leewards XI: Kieran Powell (c), Montcin Hodge, Marlon Samuels, Devon Thomas (wk), Rakheem Cornwall, Jeremiah Louis, Mervin Mathew, Justin Atheneze, Akeal Hosein, Sheno Berridge, Terance Ward.

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