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Jimmy Adams: Blake’s Blast one of the best ever T20 knocks

Wednesday 27th May 2015

Men’s First Team

Kent head coach Jimmy Adams has called Alex Blake’s matchwinning 71 not out off 30 balls against Hampshire last Friday “as good as anything we have seen in Twenty20 around the world – in the IPL or wherever”.

Blake smashed six sixes and three fours in a spectacular knock at the Ageas Bowl which also thrilled a Sky Sports television audience.

It gave Kent Spitfires two wins from their first two NatWest T20 Blast games, and they travel to Lord’s to play Middlesex on Thursday night sitting proudly at the top of the South Group table.

The 26-year-old Blake came to the crease at No 7, with Kent looking almost down and out at 70 for five at the end of the tenth over, in reply to Hampshire’s 172 for six.

What followed was extraordinary, with Blake and Sam Northeast, the young Kent captain, plundering 108 runs from the next 9.2 overs to shock Hampshire and rush the Spitfires to a five-wicket victory with four balls to spare.

The lion’s share of the biggest T20 sixth wicket stand made against Hampshire came from Blake’s flashing blade, and the left-hander finished the chase in style when he swung a ball from Yasir Arafat high over the mid-wicket boundary for his sixth six.

Northeast’s composed 60 not out from 49 balls played its part too in Kent’s triumph, but Adams rightly picked out Blake’s knock as the major factor in a remarkable turnaround.

“Hampshire are a very good team in Twenty20,” said Adams, acknowledging the fact they have reached the last five T20 Finals Days and have won the title in both 2010 and 2012. “Not many teams have gone to the Ageas Bowl and chased down that sort of total. Alex’s innings was even better as it was away from home and in unfamiliar conditions.

“But, more than anything, his innings won the game. One of the things we have continually stressed to the players here over the past few years is that good players see the team home when they get the chance – across all formats. That’s what was so special about what Alex did.

“We are trying to get our group of younger players to work towards that goal and Alex’s innings will give him a huge amount of confidence. He’s an obvious talent, and he’s played some excellent innings before, but the manner in which he reacted to the situation and took on the pressure of it was brilliant to see. He didn’t leave it to anyone else.

“He’s maturing into his role in the team, and he has always hit a very long ball. A large part of being successful is believing you can do it and Alex’s self-belief will be critical. If a big name in cricket had done what Alex did last week, we wouldn’t have heard the last of it and I think his knock was as good as anything we have seen in Twenty20 around the world – in the IPL or wherever.”

County cricket's oldest rivalry continues as Kent Spitfires take on Surrey in the NatWest T20 Blast at The County Ground, Beckenham on Friday (29 May) at 5.30pm.

Click here to buy your tickets and save £5 on gate prices