FP t20: Gladiators v Spitfires match preview

Friday 11th June 2010

Gloucestershire Gladiators v Kent Spitfires
Friends Provident t20 – South Division
Sunday, 13 June 2010. 2.30pm start
King’s School, Gloucestershire

The Kent Spitfires travel to the West Country on Sunday to take on the Gloucestershire Gladiators in a must-win FP t20 clash.

After an indifferent run of form, the Spitfires, captained by Rob Key (pictured), are in desperate need of a victory if they harbour any hopes of progressing to the quarter-final stages. Kent“s latest disappointment came on Friday night, at the St Lawrence Ground. Despite posting a healthy 183-6, the Spitfires came up against a Middlesex Panthers batting line-up that included Aussie legend Adam Gilchrist, and the great-man smashed an astonishing 106 off just 52 balls to inspire the visitors to a six-wicket victory.

The Gladiators also slipped to defeat on the same night – their second of the competition – at the hands of the league leaders, Sussex Sharks. Batting first they racked up 166-8, but it wasn“t enough as Matt Prior’s unbeaten 90 saw the Sharks through to victory. The Gladiators, led by Alex Gidman, boast Kiwi duo James Franklin and former Kent-man Ian Butler as their overseas stars and will be looking to get back to winning ways themselves, much like the Spitfires.

The last time the two sides met in this competition proved to be a historic day for the Spitfires as they lifted the t20 Cup at Edgbaston in 2007. Gloucestershire batted first and despite 65 from Hamish Marshall, Ryan McLaren was the star man as he took an incredible hat-trick, to restrict them to 146-8 from their 20 overs.

In reply, Joe Denly (28) and Matt Walker (45) looked to have seen Kent to a comfortable victory but, as wickets fell and the run rate crept up, it required a late cameo from Darren Stevens (30 off 21 balls) to see the Spitfires to title glory with four wickets remaining. Another victory like that is now required as Kent look to get back into contention for qualification from the South Division.

With limited resources, Kent team director Paul Farbrace has made one change to the 12. Young all-rounder James Goodman replaces Sam Northeast.

Kent: Denly, Key (C), Jones (W), van Jaarsveld, Stevens, Blake, Mahmood, Tredwell, Coles, Bandara, Cook, Goodman

Picture:Sarah Ansell