Match Preview: Kent Spitfires v Surrey FLt20, Beckenham, Sunday 17th June

Saturday 16th June 2012

Men’s First Team

Kent Spitfires v Surrey, Friends Life t20 – South Division

The County Ground, Worsley Bridge Road, Beckenham, Sunday, 17 June. 3pm start

The Kent Spitfires head to Beckenham as they take on a strong Surrey side on Sunday, in a Friends Life t20 South Division clash.

The visitors have claimed wins in both of their opening t20 games, against Essex and Middlesex, while Kent sadly succumbed to the rain with their fixture against Sussex Sharks abandoned on Tuesday without a ball being bowled following an umpires inspection. Surrey currently sit top of the south division after the early exchanges, but the Spitfires will be looking to rattle Surrey on Sunday.

Captain Rob Key will be hopeful that his side can replicate the performance that brushed aside Surrey when the two old rivals met in the FLt20 qualifying stages at Beckenham last season.

A bumper crowd that day, boosted by perfect sunshine, were treated to a fine all-round display by Kent as the hosts cruised to a six-wicket victory, powered by superb batting from Azhar Mahmood, against his former county, and Martin van Jaarsveld.

The experienced duo were in fine fettle, crashing 112 in twelve overs to rescue the home side after Australian pace-ace Dirk Nannes had cleaned up openers Key and Joe Denly – leaving the Spitfires reeling on eight for two. However, chasing 151 to win, South African van Jaarsveld (62 from 39 balls) and all-rounder Azhar (49 off 36) saw off the Nannes threat before launching into the rest of the Surrey attack.

Azhar smashed leg-spinner Chris Schofield for two sixes and van Jaarsveld smashed England hopeful Stuart Meaker for three fours in one over after the bowler had dropped Kent’s premier batsman on 13. The pair fell with victory in-sight but Darren Stevens and Sam Northeast kept their cool to see the hosts through to victory with 11 balls to spare.

Earlier in the day, on a blistering hot Sunday afternoon, Kent’s attack performed superbly to restrict Surrey to 150 for four. Wahab Riaz had captain Rory Hamilton-Brown caught at point by Stevens for three and dangerman Jason Roy soon followed as Charl Langeveldt extracted a false shot out of the South African-born youngster.

Azhar halted a fast start from Steve Davies (27 off 15) with Geraint Jones taking a stunning catch at the wicket. That left Surrey faltering on 38 for three before the impressive Tom Maynard and Zander de Bruyn restored some stability. Maynard showcased his talents (with 76) while de Bruyn was more circumspect – failing to find the boundary during his 45 ball 25. The pair added 103 before Azhar returned to remove Maynard as Surrey only managed to post an ultimately fruitless below-par score.

The South London side have this week started their qualifying campaign with a bang. After keeping their nerve to see off Essex Eagles by 17 runs at the Kia Oval on Wednesday, the Lions ran out 28 run victors in a rain-affected derby against Middlesex at Lord’s last night.

The visitors chose to bat first but soon regretted the decision as they were reduced to 32-4, following the powerplay overs. A rebuilding period was required and Matt Spriegel and Irishman Gary Wilson provided it. The pair crafted crucial, unbeaten half-centuries, sharing in an unbroken 117 for the fifth wicket, to lead Surrey up to a competitive 149 for five.

With rain in the air, Middlesex were set a revised target of 128 to win off 16 overs but they came up well short. Only Paul Stirling threatened, with a powerful 36, but it was the Surrey spinners who shone, sharing seven wickets to restrict the Panthers to 99-8. Former England off-spinner Gareth Barry was the main protagonist; returning 4-13.

After Tuesday’s unfortunate wash-out, Kent will be itching to get their FLt20 qualification bid up and running. A double over old foes Surrey in last season’s group stages went a long way to securing a quarter-final berth for the Spitfires so Head coach Jimmy Adams will be hoping for a win at Beckenham on Sunday to get Kent’s t20 season off to a positive start.

Team news

Kent look likely to name the same 14-man squad that was selected ahead of the Sussex wash-out on Tuesday. Thiswould meanWest Indian batsman Brendan Nash remains the sole overseas star in the ranks, as young stars Sam Billings and all-rounder Fabian Cowdrey could be given the chance to shine in the first-team. Opening batsman Billings has been ever-present in CB40 cricket so far this season and could be set to partner Rob Key at the top of the innings.

Surrey’s two overseas players are Indian spinner Murali Kartik and Australian speedster Dirk Nannes. They will, however, be hampered in the bowling department with Jade Dernbach being called up to the England one-day and t20 squads for their forthcoming clashes against West Indies. Kevin Pietersen is also missing for Surrey despite his retirement from international limited overs cricket; he will not be available to the county until July.

Join us for this thrilling FLt20 clash with local rivals, Surrey on Sunday 17th June – Father's Day. This is our only first team match to be played at The County Ground, Beckenham this season. Gates open at 1pm, ahead of a start time of 3pm. Save by pre-purchasing print at home tickets from the Kent Cricket website, adults £20 and juniors £5- click here for tickets