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Match Preview: Kent Spitfires v Warwickshire Bears CB40, St Lawrence Ground, Friday 1st June

Tuesday 29th May 2012

Men’s First Team

Kent Spitfires v Warwickshire Bears, CB40 – Group C

St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury, Friday, 1st June 2012: floodlit: gates 2.40pm, start 4.40pm

Kent Spitfires welcome Warwickshire Bears to the St Lawrence Ground this Friday for a crucial CB40 Group C match; played under the Canterbury floodlights and in front of the Sky television cameras.

The Spitfires will be looking to bounce back from the defeat suffered at the hands of the Unicorns in their last group outing, and, in the shape of Warwickshire, face a stern test with the Bears looking impressive after winning their opening three matches to leave them well positioned in second spot.

Head Coach Jimmy Adams will be hoping for a much improved performance, from the one which saw the Unicorns claim a surprise win. The batsmen, apart from Sam Northeast (69), struggled on a slow pitch – posting a below par 165 all-out before the bowlers, despite a brave effort, failed to contain the visitors as the ECB Recreational XI ran out four-wicket victors. Off-spinner James Tredwell (4-24) will be looking to replicate the impressive form he showed during Friday’s match.

The Bears look in fine fettle in limited overs cricket and blew away Northants in their last CB40 outing. Four wickets from New Zealand spin bowler Jeetan Patel helped dismiss the Steelbacks for 148 as they failed to bat out their allotted overs. The run-chase was clinical with openers Varun Chopra and Will Porterfield adding 70, for the first wicket, inside 15 overs. Irishman Porterfield fell to Con de Lange for 30 but Chopra looked untroubled and saw the side from Birmingham through to a convincing eight-wicket win with an unbeaten knock of 87 (off 117-balls).

Warwickshire, boosted by the return of England Lions all-rounder Chris Woakes, look a strong outfit but the Spitfires need to get back to winning ways and will have the highly talented Azhar Mahmood back available. The all-rounder returns to the fold after finishing his stint at the IPL with Kings XI Punjab.

The last time Kent welcomed Warwickshire to Canterbury was back in 2010, with the Bears winning by six wickets on their way to claiming competition glory. Batting first, Kent posted a healthy 246 for six. Opener Joe Denly anchored the innings – striking eight boundaries in a 102-ball 80. His innings was complimented by forceful half-centuries from Martin van Jaarsveld and the big-hitting Darren Stevens, who blasted five sixes in his 33-ball 55.

Despite the healthy total, the visitors made the run-chase look easy. Boosted by the inclusion of England batsmen Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell, the Bears comfortably hunted down the total with six wickets and more than two overs to spare. Trott, opening the innings, made 54 before he was bowled by Simon Cook. The right-hander put on 126 with Bell for the second wicket to set up a convincing run-chase. Bell himself was in fine touch – scoring 88 from just 75-balls. Once he was caught and bowled, by van Jaarsveld, Kent might have sensed an opening but this was extinguished by Jim Troughton. His unbeaten 56 saw the visitors home.

In the return fixture at Edgbaston that year, the eventual tournament champions dispatched the Spitfires by the same victory margin before going on to beat Somerset by three-wickets in a nail-biting final. Bell’s century was the difference between the two sides that day.

Team news

Neither team have been in LV= CC action so come into it fully rested. Kent look set to make changes from the side that brushed aside Leicestershire inside three days last week. As previously mentioned, Azhar is likely to return alongside the likes of youngsters Sam Billings, Alex Blake and Adam Ball as Kent look set to continue to give youth its chance in CB40 cricket. No further injury worries have been reported from the Leicestershire win although opening batsman Scott Newman has returned to Middlesex after the expiry of his loan spell. Seam bowler Ashley Shaw is still recovering after shin surgery.

Ground Information:

There will be entertainmentduring theafternoon, with Jason Sway's Michael Buble tribute and the opportunity try your luckon theRodeo Bull –so be sure to arrive early if you can. The floodlights will make for a fantastic atmosphere so make sure you don’t miss out.

Tickets are available online now, with generous discounts for print at home tickets which you can purchase until gates open (two hours before play is scheduled to commence).

Adults pre-buy ground entry £15, Woolley Stand £20 (£5 more for both when gates open at 11.45am). Junior tickets are just £5 in advance, click here for tickets.

Parking will be available on the tennis courts at Simon Langton Girls’ School from 2.40pm on Friday, but please avoid the school entrance between 3.30pm and 4.00pm due to the need for teachers and students to leave the school at the end of the day. Please be aware that this is a televised match, and therefore on site parking at the St Lawrence Ground itself will be very limited.

Please note that alcohol may not be brought into this match.

Come and support the boys – see you Friday!