Match Preview: Kent Spitfires v Middlesex Panthers FLt20, Friday 28 June

Thursday 27th June 2013

Men’s First Team

Match Preview: Kent Spitfires v Middlesex Panthers FLt20, Friday 28 June

Kent Spitfires v Middlesex Panthers

Friends Life t20 – South Division

Friday, 28 June – 7.00pm start

The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence

The Kent Spitfires begin their Friends Life t20 South Division campaign by hosting the Middlesex Panthers at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence where the home faithful will get a first glimpse of new overseas signing Vernon Philander.

The Team:

The South African bowling all-rounder goes straight into the Spitfires squad for the opener, after arriving in England on Wednesday. He will be joined by captain James Tredwell who returns to the side after a highly successful stint away with England – including captaining the national side in Thursday night’s t20 international against New Zealand at the Kia Oval. On-loan bowler Mitch Claydon is also in the 12 after claiming five wickets against New Zealand in last week’s t20 warm-up against the Black Caps.

The 12-manteam is as follows: Tredwell ©, Key, Northeast, Billings (w), Stevens, Blake, Harmison, Riley, Claydon, Coles, Philander, Davies.

Players to watch:

All eyes will be on Philander, with him arriving in the county as the second ranked Test-match bowler in world cricket. The 28 year-old has taken 89 wickets at 17.13 – with a superb strike rate of 26.8 (the best average and strike rate since the First World War). He has taken five-wickets nine times (or once every 1.78 Tests) and 10 wickets on one occasion. He has played 67 Twenty20 matches – returning 46 wickets at 31.00 and has a bowling strike rate of 23.1. He can also hit a long ball down the order and has two Test-match half-centuries to his name.

Pre-match chat:

Vernon Philander is the man that everyone wants to see and he clearly cannot wait to get going in Kent colours: "I'm really happy to be here, I hope to help the team to create some great chances and hopefully success. I hope I can use my experience to help the team and also that I can be a good influence in the dressing room."

The season so far:

A young Spitfires side lost to the touring Black Caps last week but there was still plenty of cause for optimism. Kent handed a debut to all-rounder Fabian Cowdrey to finally mean that three generations of the Cowdrey family have now played an official first-team game for Kent (the New Zealand game does count in the records). It was the first instance since the Collins family of Benjamin (grandfather), Christopher (father) and George Christopher (son) achieved this – when the latter made his Kent debut in 1911. Fifties from Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor set up New Zealand’s total of 185 for seven despite Claydon’s fine figures of 5-31. Darren Stevens (41) and Daniel Bell-Drummond (31) threatened to launch a victory charge but two wickets for former Kent fast-bowler Ian Butler helped restrict the hosts to 143-7. Cowdrey impressed on debut, scoring 21 from 14 balls.

Friday’s opponents, Middlesex, sit fourth in their Yorkshire Bank 40 qualifying group and boosted their t20 ranks by signing New Zealand seam bowler Kyle Mills, ahead of this opening clash, so both teams will have a new face in their respective squads.

Previous meetings:

In the corresponding fixture last season Kent were at the wrong end of some Joe Denly fireworks as their former opener blasted an unbeaten 90 to help the Panthers seal a 48-run win. Middlesex racked up 207, batting first, as Denly and Paul Stirling (63 from 43) smashed 127 for the opening wicket – inside 12 overs. Sam Northeast (60) and Sam Billings (43) powered Kent’s chase but the hosts lost four wickets in four balls as the Lord’s outfit claimed a comfortable win.

It's not too late to secure tickets to Kent's Friends Life t20 opener. Don't miss the action – click here to save with pre-purchase tickets.

A full colour Match Guide will be available at the match, featuring interviews with Vernon Philander, Mitch Claydon and Joe Denly, along with a 'Welcome' from Jimmy Adams. Match Guides are 50 pence or free to Kent Cricket Members purchasing a scorecard.