Match Preview: Middlesex vs. Kent Spitfires

Match Preview: Middlesex vs. Kent Spitfires

The Vitality Blast is BACK! Kent Spitfires travel to the Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford to face Middlesex in their first T20 match of the Summer.


T20 cricket is back at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence on Friday 7 June!

Buy tickets now


Kent Spitfires Season Preview

Previewed by Fred Atkins – ECB Reporters Network

  • Captain: Sam Billings
  • Overseas players: Xavier Bartlett (Australia), Wes Agar (Australia), Charlie Stobo (Australia), Beyers Swanepoel (South Africa)
  • Finals Day appearances: Four (2007, 2008, 2009, 2021)
  • Titles: Two (2007, 2021)
  • 2023 finish: Fifth (South Group)
  • 2023 leading run-scorer: Daniel Bell-Drummond (600)
  • 2023 leading wicket-taker: Grant Stewart (24)

Key winter moves: Matt Parkinson’s arrival from Lancashire provides the frontline spin option that George Linde conspicuously didn’t last year. The overseas players will be rotated, with Bartlett limited to eight appearances and Swanepoel expected to provide some lower-order pyrotechnics.

The big question: Will the rotation policy from the start of the Vitality County Championship pay dividends? At the very least it has to be an improvement on the negligible contributions provided by Linde and an injured Kane Richardson last season. The Spitfires’ form improved significantly after Wes Agar was drafted in from the red-ball squad.

Wildcard watch: The obvious choice is Jack Leaning, but Grant Stewart and Joey Evison can also bat and bowl, as can Joe Denly. A real wildcard choice as a specialist spinner would be Parkinson. He has 139 Blast wickets at 18.96 and has significantly improved his batting over the winter.

Final thought: The Blast brings first-class sport to an area 50 miles from the nearest Premier League football and rugby grounds, and 55 from the nearest franchise. The Spitfire Ground is a sold-out bearpit on Blast nights and the Spitfires are a genuine title chance.


Opposition Report

  • Captain: Stephen Eskinazi
  • Overseas players: None
  • Finals Day appearances: One (2008)
  • Titles: One (2008)
  • 2023 finish: Ninth (South Group)
  • 2023 leading run-scorer: Stephen Eskinazi (462)
  • 2023 leading wicket-taker: Tom Helm (12)

Key winter moves: Financial restrictions mean Middlesex go into the tournament without any imports, but former Derbyshire skipper Leus du Plooy is an excellent addition to their middle order while Henry Brookes should take some pressure off Tom Helm’s shoulders in the seam bowling department.

The big question: While Middlesex possess batting brawn up top, with Eskinazi, Max Holden and Joe Cracknell, their tendency has been to stumble in the middle overs. Can Du Plooy provide the cool head required to manage an innings – arguably lacking ever since Eoin Morgan called it a day.

Wildcard watch: Jack Davies steered Middlesex across the line in last year’s thrilling run-fest against Surrey, recording an overall strike rate north of 150 during the tournament. The big-hitting wicketkeeper-batter should be guaranteed plenty more opportunities to shine in the wake of John Simpson’s departure to Sussex.

Final thought: Although Middlesex’s decision to switch two home games to Chelmsford was controversial, it’s unlikely to put them at a disadvantage. The perennial T20 under-achievers belatedly found form on the road in last year’s Blast, winning three of their last four group matches after losing 10 in a row – including every game at home.


Kent vs. Somerset is our opening home T20 match of the Summer!

Kent Spitfires welcome Somerset to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence under lights on Friday 7 June:

Buy your T20 tickets here


Weather Watch

CHELMSFORD WEATHER

Follow Kent Spitfies on X to receive live updates on prospects of play should there be any delays.


Live Match Centre

Middlesex vs. Kent Spitfires will be live streamed & embedded into the Match Centre on the Kent Cricket website.

View Match Centre

Pictures & sound will be provided by Middlesex Cricket.


Team News

Kent Men’s Head Coach Matt Walker has named a squad of 14 for Kent’s T20 opener at Chelmsford.

Sam Billings leads the Spitfires for the first time in T20 competition this Summer, after being confirmed as T20 Captain back in October.

Big-hitter Tawanda Muyeye is included in the squad alongside Marcus O’Riordan, who impressed with his off-spin last time out for Kent Second XI in their T20 win over Essex at The Spitfire Ground, as well as Hamidullah Qadri & Harry Finch.

Australia’s Xavier Bartlett has arrived in Canterbury & could make his Kent Spitfires debut alongside South African Beyers Swanepoel – both Overseas stars won their respective domestic T20 tournaments this Winter.

Barring international call-ups, Zak Crawley is available for Kent throughout the start of the Vitality Blast, especially before the start of England Men’s Test Summer in July.

Jack Leaning (hand) & Wes Agar (shoulder) have been ruled out after both sustaining injuries in the first round of Vitality County Championship fixtures.

Fred Klaassen is unavailable due to injury & is set to miss the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in North America.

Matt Quinn (back) remains unfit due to injury during pre-season and is being closely assessed by the Club’s physios. Michael Cohen (stress fracture) has been ruled out of the 2024 season.

Kent Spitfires’ Matchday Squad, presented by Shepherd Neame >>>


Vitality Blast is back in Canterbury next week!

  • The most exciting form of county cricket – international T20 & Hundred stars feature for county sides in a format that usually lasts around three hours – the perfect sporting night out!

Buy your T20 tickets here

Scramble your squadron for a choice of Friday night socials this June & July and enjoy discounts on tickets for groups of six or more!