Match Preview: Middlesex Panthers v Kent Spitfires, Sunday 8th July

Sunday 8th July 2012

Men’s First Team

Middlesex Panthers v Kent Spitfires, Friends Life t20 – South Group

Uxbridge, west London, Sunday,8 July – 14.40pm start.

Kent's hopes ofqualifying for the quarter-finals of the Friends Life t20 are over following a 23-run defeat to Essex, under the lights at the St Lawrence Ground.

This latest defeat, theirfifthreverse of the campaign, confirmed the exit of the 2007 champions. Essex, with five wins, could still qualify by beating Hampshire in Sunday's final round of South Group games.

On a disappointing night in Canterbury, Sam Northeast and Darren Stevens were run out in the space of three balls as Kent made 126 for nine in reply to the 149 for five Essex put on the board, batting first.

It finished honours even in t20 matches between Kent and Middlesex last season.The Spitfirestook first blood by winning an enthralling low-scoring encounter. Playing under the new, permanent floodlights at the St Lawrence Ground, for the first time, the hosts recovered from21 for six to snatch a slender nine-run victory as the Panthers failed to chase down a paltry 115 for nine set by Rob Key’s men on a tricky batting wicket.

In the reverse fixture, just six days later, at Uxbridge, the Middlesex Panthers secured a28-run win under the Duckworth/Lewis method. Batting first, Kent scored 149 for three from their 20 overs with opener Joe Denly top scoring with an unbeaten 84. Denly, now with the London side, hit eight fours and two sixes, in his 64-ball stay, and shared a partnership of 96 with Martin van Jaarsveld, who made 43.

In reply, Paul Stirling, who played such a key role in the Panthers' win over Kent earlier in the t20 campaign, hit an unbeaten 51 – off just 23 balls – to keep his side ahead of the required rate.The rain then arrived, with Middlesex 79 for one after eight overs. It was enough for Neil Dexter's side to move through to victory. Despite the setback, Kent then showed some superb quality, late in the qualifying campaign, with six wins from eight to reach the last eight of the 2011 competition.

Full team news to follow.

Photo Sarah Ansell