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Match Report: Gloucestershire vs. Kent Spitfires

Kent Spitfires made the journey to Cheltenham College to face Gloucestershire in the Vitality Blast.

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Kent Spitfires’ Nathan Gilchrist bowled a near-perfect fifth over to put the visitors ahead on DLS against Gloucestershire and ultimately seal a win for the Spitfires at Cheltenham College in the Vitality Blast.

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Glos openers Miles Hammond and Cameron Bancroft made 23 in three overs to ease ahead of the DLS requirement after Kent had put on 150 in their first innings, only for the rain forecast for early evening to arrive ahead of schedule with two overs more needing to be bowled to constitute a game.

When play finally resumed an hour later with the home side chasing a revised target of 145 from 19 overs, Kent reasserted themselves, Gilchrist removing Bancroft and James Bracey in the space of four balls in the fifth over.

Umpires Alex Wharf and Ben Peverall took the players off for the second and last time when heavy rain moved back in with Gloucestershire on 29-2, now eight runs behind the newly-revised DLS figure, their hopes dashed by a disappointing two-over passage of play which served to fundamentally alter the outcome. The game was abandoned soon afterwards.

After being asked to bat first, Bell-Drummond scored 76 off 52 balls and had dominating partnerships of 56 and 54 with Evison and Grant Stewart for the fourth and seventh wickets respectively, as the right-hander scored over half of the Spitfires’ total of 150 all out.

On-loan Kent opener Feroze Khushi was pinned lbw without scoring in the first over, while new batsman Tawanda Muyeye fell second ball, driving uppishly to Jack Taylor at mid-on.

David Payne then accounted for Kent captain Sam Billings in his next over, the right-hander top-edging a hook to Josh Shaw as the visitors subsided to 17-3 in the third.

Charged with the task of rebuilding, Bell-Drummond plundered three successive fours in an over from Shaw that cost 15 runs, helping Spitfires recover to 40-3 at the end of the powerplay. Evison also adopted an aggressive approach in a 50 stand that occupied just 36 balls.

When Evison chanced his arm once too often and hit Beau Webster straight to Miles Hammond at long-off for a 16-ball 22 and Jack Leaning attempted to pull off spinner Ollie Price and contrived to hit his wicket, departing for a six-ball duck, Kent were 70-5 off 10.1 overs and badly in need of renewed impetus.

Bell-Drummond was fast running out of partners, Marcus O’Riordan hoisting Price to deep backward square and falling into a carefully laid trap as the visitors further subsided to 89-6. Taking matters into his own hands, Bell-Drummond launched Price over the covers to raise a 39-ball 50 with his first six as the innings realised three figures in the fifteenth.

Stewart came out swinging, contributing a 15-ball 21 in a revitalising stand of 54 in 4.5 overs before hitting the returning Payne straight down the throat of long-on. Bell-Drummond fell in the penultimate over, hoisting Shaw to deep mid-wicket, having accrued 10 fours and 2 sixes and almost single-handedly carried his side to a respectable total.

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Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond said: “We got a bit lucky at the end, but we’ll take it.

“We’ve had a few disappointing results in this format recently and it feels good to get a win, even if it did come because of the rain. We knew we needed to take wickets when we got back out there and Nathan Gilchrist did really well to get those two and change the game in our favour. He’s not had the best of times in T20 this season, but he came good when we needed him on this occasion.

“I was pleased to make a contribution with the bat, especially as we ended up winning the game. I used my experience and the short boundaries to keep the scoreboard moving, even though wickets kept falling at the other end. It felt as though we were a bit short of runs, but I enjoyed my innings after not quite managing to find my best form in this format.”

An unmissable evening of cricket is coming to Canterbury this Summer, and tickets are selling fast to see England’s heroes take on the White Ferns of New Zealand in Canterbury, just an hour’s journey from the capital.

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England Women vs. New Zealand at The Spitfire Ground in July is not included in 2024 Memberships or Six Pack ticket bundles. Members, Six Pack & Six Pack Plus holders should purchase tickets from the Club website.

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