FP t20: Tickets still available for Spitfires v Sharks at Tunbridge Wells

Monday 7th June 2010

Kent Spitfires v Sussex Sharks
Friends Provident t20 – South Division
Wednesday, 9 June – 5.30pm start
Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells

After a weekend run fest at the Nevill Ground, the Tunbridge Wells festival week comes to a frenetic conclusion tomorrow when the Kent Spitfires welcome Sussex Sharks, the t20 title holders, to our picturesque west Kent ground.

Both sides have enjoyed some tremendous recent success in t20 and Michael Yardy“s Sharks have already showed they will be a force to be reckoned with this season by winning their opening two games. Firstly, in the competition opener and a re-run of last year“s final at Edgbaston, Sussex blew away Somerset by 52 runs. They then followed this up with an impressive 28 run win over a Middlesex Panthers side, including Australian legend Adam Gilchrist, at Lord“s as 49 off 38 balls from the hard-hitting West Indian, Dwayne Smith, laid the foundations for the victory.

With Smith, former Kent all-rounder Yasir Arafat and explosive New Zealander Brendon McCullum, providing the overseas influence, the Sharks are a tried and tested outfit, well marshalled by World Cup winner Yardy and should again be in the running for a finals day place at the Rose Bowl this time around.

Kent, on the other-hand, have made a mixed start to their campaign. In their respective opener, away to the Essex Eagles at Chelmsford, 54 from Geraint Jones (pictured) and a 28-ball 49 from the in-form Darren Stevens saw the Spitfires through to a thrilling six-wicket win – negating a brutal 98 from Essex all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate in the process.

However, in their second outing, the Spitfires produced a disappointing batting display, against the Hampshire Royals, at the Rose Bowl making a meagre 114 for nine batting first and, despite a valiant bowling display – taking the chase down to the last over, the Royals took victory by a comfortable five wickets.

The Sharks currently top the south division with the Spitfires lying in fourth position – four teams from each division move through to the quarter-final stages.

When the two sides met in the group stages last season, it finished honours even; albeit with one extremely controversial win for the Sharks. First up it was a late-May clash at Canterbury when the Spitfires ran out comfortable five-wicket victors. A fine bowling display, including 3-16 from Azhar Mahmood and Robbie Joseph“s 2-25, helped Kent restrict the visitors to 132-7. The home side then had no trouble in knocking off the runs, even without captain Rob Key who was away with England, as Jones (56) and stand-in skipper Martin van Jaarsveld (39) eased Kent to victory.

In the return fixture at Hove, controversy reigned supreme in front of the Sky cameras. A floodlight failure meant that the game started with everyone knowing the game wouldn“t be completed, however it was still played as twenty over fixture meaning the famed Duckworth-Lewis system would come into play. Sussex batted first and posted a below-par 131-3, mainly thanks to Smith“s unbeaten 69. In the run chase, Kent managed to stay ahead of the required D/L, without losing a wicket, until the end of the eleventh when they slipped two runs behind the target needed for victory. At this point, the umpires deemed the light unplayable and called time on the tie with Joe Denly and Darren Stevens left high and dry. Sussex took victory much to Kent“s dismay.

However, on the plus side, both teams qualified for the quarter-finals and then finals day itself. Unfortunately Kent lost to Somerset by seven wickets in the semi-finals while Sussex went all the way and took victory in the final over Justin Langer“s men by 63 runs.

With Amjad Khan injured, batsman Sam Northeast comes into the 12-man squad.

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

Tickets are still available for the big game and you can purchase on the gate. The price is £25 for adults and £10 for juniors. A bumper crowd is expected so please arrive early. Gates open at 3.30pm, with the action beginning at 5.30.

After our game against the Sussex Sharks, Kent have a further seven home group matches. You can book tickets, and take advantage of our seven day in-advance ticket offer, by clicking here.

Picture:Getty Images