Kent Spitfires v Surrey (Fri, 7pm)

Thursday 19th July 2018

Men’s First XI

Vitality Blast

Kent Spitfires v Surrey (Fri, 7pm)

An unchanged Kent Spitfires squad will be aiming to maintain the grip on top spot in the South Group table as oldest rivals Surrey come to Canterbury.

It’s the first floodlit Vitality Blast match of the season at The Spitfire Ground to mark the start of the 167th Canterbury Cricket Week.

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Skipper Sam Billings, fresh from a T20 career-best in the win against Hampshire at Beckenham, said: “I still think there’s a lot of room for improvement. We’re still leaking too many runs from the powerplay and come up with plans and execute them.

“Every game is big and the week off has been great to refresh mentally and physically at this time in a busy season.

“Mitch was superb at the death and Haggsy [Calum Haggett] showed why we have so much faith in him after arguably being our best bowler in last year’s tournament. We have depth and competition for places now which is good for the team.”

West Indies T20 skipper Carlos Brathwaite will play the final match of his spell at Kent before Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis joins the Spitfires squad next week.

The captain has been impressed by his former Sydney Sixers teammate and said: “His batting normally gets the plaudits but his bowling has been truly exceptional in his time with us and shows why he plays cricket all over the world.

“He has been world class with the ball and we saw a few glimpses of his ball-striking last week at Beckenham.

“Surrey are a great side: Aaron Finch is a dangerous player and Jason Roy and the Currans could be back from international duty.

“The rivalry is a big one and it’s always nice to win but every side and match in this group is tough.”

New Zealand paceman Adam Milne faces a late fitness check after missing last Friday’s match with a swollen ankle.

Off-spinner James Tredwell, Kent’s top T20 wicket-taker of all-time, has been ruled out for the rest of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury but the hosts have an otherwise fully-fit squad.

The visitors are without England T20 opener Jason Roy and Tom Curran but have both their Australian international batsmen Aaron Finch and Nic Maddinson available.

Kent Spitfires squad: 7 Sam Billings (c/wk), 23 Daniel Bell-Drummond, 10 Alex Blake, 26 Carlos Brathwaite, 6 Joe Denly, 58 Sean Dickson, 25 Calum Haggett, 4 Heino Kuhn, 20 Adam Milne, 1 Harry Podmore, 11 Imran Qayyum, 5 Ivan Thomas, 8 Mitch Claydon.

Surrey squad: Jade Dernbach (c), Gareth Batty, Scott Borthwick, Rory Burns, Rikki Clarke, Sam Curran, Aaron Finch, Ben Foakes, Will Jacks, Nic Maddinson, Morne Morkel, Mat Pillans, Ollie Pope, Mark Stoneman, Freddie van den Bergh.

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Parking is available tomorrow at the nearby Simon Langton Girls Grammar (CT1 3EW) for £10 or at the New Dover Road Park and Ride for £3.50 per day (£1 after 4pm) with a low-floor bus dropping outside the main pedestrian entrance to the ground.

Ground guide & parking information >

Join kmfm’s Laura Crockett at the match tomorrow who will out in the crowd meeting supporters. Tweet #SuperKent from your seat to see yourself on the big screen!

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Every ball of Kent’s season is covered on the BBC Sport website and app.

BBC Radio Kent live ball-by-ball commentary online and on DAB >

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