Northeast: Milne has X Factor

Northeast: Milne has X Factor

Spitfires skipper Sam Northeast paid tribute to New Zealand paceman Adam Milne’s record-breaking performance after a two-week layoff with a thigh injury.

The fast bowler took 5/11 and the captain said the Black Caps white-ball international star made the difference in a superb six-wicket win against Somerset at Taunton.

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The Ashford-born batsman said: “Adam Milne’s performance completely turned the game on its head. To come here and get 5/11 on this wicket is an unbelievable effort.

“He’s the X Factor we’ve been missing in this competition, 90mph bowling is great to call on as a captain.

“The powerplay has been our downfall in recent matches and we got a few wickets today.

“It was a brilliant catch from Neesham to remove Davies and the wicket of Hildreth was key for us too.”

Northeast was also impressed by Sam Billings’ contribution with the bat as he guided the Spitfires home with an excellent unbeaten 56 off 36 balls.

The Kent captain said: “Sam’s been brilliant recently. He’s looked calm at the crease and his tempo has been excellent.

“He played with good intent, running 1s and 2s really hard and he can hit the ball over the ropes so he puts the fielding side under pressure from ball one.”

Billings, who hit his 11th T20 half-century in the win, said: “We have a really good record here at Taunton and the guys love playing on this square. I’m told that’s eight wins on the trot for us on this ground.

“I thought our performance in the field set up this victory and Adam Milne was outstanding. The dismissal of James Hildreth was a key moment and Adam weighed into the tail after that.

“This was a must-win match for us and, if we win our last two games, then we can still qualify for the quarter-finals.”