Darren Stevens previews Kent’s Championship match with Middlesex

Monday 3rd August 2009

KENT’Scricketers will look to further extend their lead at the top of the LV County Championship table tomorrow when they play bottom-of-the-table Middlesex at Canterbury. Kent go into the game with an 18-point lead at the top and a bumper crowd is anticipated for the 167th Canterbury Week.

All-rounder Darren Stevens (pictured) says the team is going into the game full of confidence: “Things are going very well for us. We are playing good all-round cricket. It was great to get a win out of the Derbyshire game. We played tremendously well on the final day to pull off the victory. We are a confident bunch and we were always backing ourselves but we had no luck on the third day. We were bowling well, there was lots of playing and missing but we just couldn“t seem to find the edge. I was pleased for Amjad. He bowled really well, in both innings, and looks back to his best.”

So did you feel that you could win the game going into the final day? “Yes, we did. As I mentioned, we kept backing ourselves and knew that we could do it once we bowled them out. We got back to the dressing room and said right let“s just keep batting and batting and see where we are at lunch and then tea. Going into the final session we knew that we needed five an over and always felt that was on. It got a bit twitchy at the end and Keysy couldn“t sit down but we won it and are now clear at the top with a game in hand!”

This week“s opponents, Middlesex, are bottom of the table but Stevens feels they are much better than that: “We“ve just got to keep doing what we are doing and play good cricket but Middlesex will prove a tough nut to crack. Still, hopefully we will come out of it with a win, or lots of points, to strengthen our position at the top. We players are all looking forward to Canterbury Week. It is a nice week for everyone, with lots going on off the pitch as well as on it. Hopefully the weather will be good and we can get the crowds in. They have got a decent side. I know they have got some good young batters at the top and Owais Shah, at three, is one of the best batters in the country so they have lots of talent.”

And with the season now in full swing, does Stevens believe that Kent can realistically still win the three remaining competitions? “I don“t see any reasons why not. Whenever we“ve had a chat, behind closed doors, everyone seems really confident. Our cricket is getting better and better this season. If we keep playing the way we are and get another couple of wins in the Championship then we will be in a real strong position. We“ve got the Twenty20 Finals Day coming up and want to keep the momentum going. Things are going really well for us. Long may it continue.”

Picture: Sarah Ansell