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CB40 Match Preview: Kent Spitfires v Yorkshire Carnegie under floodlights

Tuesday 21st August 2012

Men’s First Team

Kent Spitfires v Yorkshire Carnegie, Clydesdale Bank 40 – Group C

St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury, Wednesday, 22 August 2012 – 4.40pm start

Qualification to the CB40 semi-final stages is within striking range for the Kent Spitfires. Victories in their final two group matches will secure a place in the final four. They welcome Yorkshire Carnegie to Canterbury tomorrow in front of the Sky television cameras as Jimmy Adams’ men reach a defining stage of the season.

Kent are currently third in Group C but a win tomorrow will take them top, with just one qualifying game to play. Different permutations mean that the home side can lose the game and still qualify, as the best runner-up spot is likely to come from this group, but the situation is currently in their own hands.

The Spitfires’ final group game is against Sussex Sharks at the St Lawrence Ground on Bank Holiday Monday. They currently top Group C and the equation is simple – win their final two games and they will qualify with a home fixture in the semi-finals. The final is at Lord’s on Saturday, 15 September.

The Spitfires kept their nerve on Sunday to secure a crucial win over Northamptonshire Steelbacks and keep their qualification dreams alive. On a two paced Wantage Road wicket, the hosts batted first and put an impressive score of 232 for nine on the board. At 202-4 it looked as though the Steelbacks would power to a total in excess of 250, with captain Alex Wakely on 74, but once he fell to Matt Coles the innings fell away with Coles and Simon Cook sharing five scalps.

Kent lost regular wickets in the run chase and when Alex Blake was bowled by Con de Lange, in the 26th over, the Spitfires were stuttering on 126 for five. However, West Indies international Brendan Nash (70) and England’s Geraint Jones (52) showed their class to see the visitors home. The duo put on a superb, unbeaten 107 as Kent secured a vital five-wicket victory with eight balls to spare.

In their previous match, Yorkshire had the chance to help Kent’s qualification aspirations but they fell just short, at the final hurdle, as Sussex secured a miraculous victory. Chasing a revised total of 207, from just 28 overs, the Sharks looked dead and buried when they needed 16 off the final over, but they somehow manage to scrape a last ball victory as the former Kent fast bowler, Amjad Khan, smashed a match winning 16 off just six balls to keep Sussex in contention. Yorkshire cannot qualify for the final four as they sit fifth in Group C on nine points.

In the return fixture, Key’s men got their CB40 campaign off to a flying start; brushing aside Yorkshire at Headingley. Pace bowler Coles celebrated his call-up to the England Lions squad by tearing through the hosts batting line-up. The all-rounder took out the Australian, Phil Jacques, and Gary Ballance for first-ball ducks on his way to sealing fine figures of 6-32 as the home side could only muster 175-9.

The run-chase was well paced as Key (40) and the talented Sam Billings (26) put on 57 for the opening wicket before a fluent half-century from Darren Stevens led the visitors to the brink of victory. His dismissal, with 17 runs still needed, sparked a minor stumble, but Jones kept his cool to seal a four-wicket win – with four balls to spare.

Yorkshire’s last CB40 trip to Canterbury was a more happy occasion as they powered to a commanding 93 run win. A stunning batting display from captain Andrew Gale led the way as Yorkshire piled up 254 for seven. The left-hander struck eleven fours and two sixes, on his way to a majestic 112 from 114 balls. He was ably assisted by the promising Joe Root (43) as the duo added 124 for the third wicket. Adam Ball and Azhar Mahmood took two wickets apiece for Kent.

In reply, the Spitfires were never really in the hunt after losing opener Sam Northeast and Martin van Jaarsveld to consecutive Ryan Sidebottom deliveries with the score on 13 – unlucky for those two. Stevens rallied, scoring 39, but leg-spinner Adil Rashid (3-30) hurried through Kent’s middle-order, leaving them soundly beaten after been bowled out for 161 in just the 32nd over.

Kent are unbeaten in this competition, this season, when the Sky Sports spotlight has been put on them; another win in front of the television cameras tomorrow will put them in pole position to reach the CB40 final four.

Team news to follow in due course.

Please note: there are currently roadworks in Nackington Road with a traffic light system in operation, which cause result in a delay if you intend to park at the ground. Car parking is available at Simon Langton Girls' Grammar School in Old Dover Road, a shrt walk across the road to the ground.