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Kent Spitfires look forward to T20 Blast Off

Thursday 19th May 2016

Men’s First Team

Kent Spitfires begin their NatWest T20 Blast season against Somerset at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence on Friday (7pm start).

Skipper Sam Northeast is looking to repeat last season's group stage form when Kent finished top and he was one of the most prolific batsmen in the country.

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The 26-year-old Ashford-born batsman said: “I’d always been more of a technical player and in the early years of T20 I guess you could say I never quite got my training or technique quite right.

"But in the winter on 2014-15 I tried a few innovative things, worked on my range hitting and clearing the ropes and I guess that paid off.

"Once I got a method that I trusted, the confidence and the results kept rolling on and that seemed to rub off on the whole side.

"Alex Blake played superbly well and the death bowlers like Matt Coles, Mitch Claydon and David Griffiths backed us up throughout.”

Overseas signing Tom Latham is set for his NatWest T20 Blast debut and Matt Coles returns from suspension for the Spitfires.

James Tredwell, Fabian Cowdrey and David Griffiths could be involved and Sam Billings is away on Indian Premier League duty after having his stay extended by a week as Delhi Daredevils bid for a play-off place.

In-form batsman Joe Denly scored a career-best 206 not out this week and said: “I love the atmosphere of one-day cricket at Kent with the bigger crowds, the razzmatazz and the music. It all helps get the adrenalin flowing."

Teenage wicketkeeper Ryan Davies will return to Kent for the first time since he moved to join Somerset in the autumn.

The 19-year-old said: “It will be a little bit of a strange experience for me having played at Canterbury for many years.”

“I will be going back to a ground where I have got a lot of memories and it’s where it all started for me.

"Obviously I am really grateful for everything Kent have done for me over the years, but now it’s competition time so hopefully I can play my part in helping Somerset to get a win.”

Pakistan all-rounder Yasir Arafat, who currently plays club cricket for Bromley, will also be a familiar face in the Somerset line-up.

Click here to buy tickets for Friday's match and save on gate prices

Kent Spitfires squad (from):17 Sam Northeast, 6 Joe Denly, 23 Daniel Bell-Drummond, 58 Tom Latham, 3 Darren Stevens, 10 Alex Blake, 30 Fabian Cowdrey, 58 Sean Dickson, 26 Matt Coles, 8 Mitch Claydon, 18 David Griffiths, 15 James Tredwell, 11 Imran Qayyum, 12 Adam Rouse, 24 Adam Ball, 14 Matt Hunn, 5 Ivan Thomas.

Somerset squad:6 Jim Allenby (c), 9 Johann Myburgh, 7 Peter Trego, 25 James Hildreth, 77 Ryan Davies (wk), 24 Lewis Gregory, 52 Roelof van der Merwe, 8 Jamie Overton, 12 Craig Overton, 29 Michael Leask, 99 Yasir Arafat, 5 Tim Groenewald, 10 Max Waller.

KENT V SOMERSET STATS

o Kent Spitfires have won four successive matches versus Somerset; all when batting first.

o All four of Somerset’s wins last year came when they batted second.

o Kent Spitfires have won nine of their last 12 completed matches on a Friday (L3).

o Daniel Bell-Drummond’s highest ever T20 score (77) helped Kent Spitfires seal a 22 run victory over Somerset when these teams last met in this competition.

o No bowler took more wickets in the ‘death overs’ than Mitchell Claydon in the 2015 Blast (15).