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Match Report: Kent Spitfires vs. Essex

Kent Spitfires kicked-off the 172nd Canterbury Cricket Week with a T20 rivals clash with Essex at The Spitfire Ground, St. Lawrence.


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Kent Spitfires were defeated by Essex in the Vitality Blast on Friday night by five wickets at Canterbury.

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Simon Harmer, Ben Allison and Matt Critchley all claimed two wickets as Kent were limited to 156 for seven, Sam Billings the highest scorer with 38.

It never looked like being enough on a typically batter-friendly St. Lawrence wicket and Michael Pepper blasted 76 from 42 balls as the visitors coasted home with five overs to spare, finishing on 157 for five.

Essex chose to bowl and got Daniel Bell-Drummond for 10, Allison duping him into a false shot that looped to Pepper at deep backward point.

Zak Crawley had made 20 when he hit Critchley to Allison on the deep-midwicket boundary and the umpires ruled his foot wasn’t in contact with the rope as he took a juggling catch.

Tawanda Muyeye hit Simon Harmer back over his head for six but was bowled off the next ball for 18, giving Harmer his first Blast wicket of the season.

Joey Evison went for seven, swatting Paul Walter to Allison at mid-off, but the real prize was Billings, who hit Critchley almost vertically before Luc Benkenstein took a steepling catch.

Marcus O’Riordan made 20 from 11 before playing on to Harmer, Allison bowled Beyers Swanepoel for two and it was left to Harry Finch to milk what he could from the tail, finishing on 24 not out.

The Essex innings was just an over old when the umpires took the players off because the sun was apparently “too bright,” prompting the DJ to play “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves.

They were almost at the rope when a cloud appeared and they were called back. Adam Rossington lasted just three more balls before he chipped Xavier Bartlett to Nathan Gilchrist.

A second light delay followed before Gilchrist had Dean Elgar caught by O’Riordan for seven, leading to an eventful Jordan Cox cameo against his former county. He walked out to a mixture of booing and applause and responded with three successive fours off Bartlett. He then dumped Gilchrist for consecutive sixes, only to sky his next ball to Billings, falling for an eight-ball 26.

After nine overs it was 99 for three and Walter immediately holed out to Matt Parkinson, caught by an inrushing Bartlett for 15, but Pepper was playing with such ease that any realistic home hopes had faded long before swished at Evison and Parkinson couldn’t cling on at short third man.

Gilchrist had Pepper caught on the boundary by Finch, leaving Critchley to score the winning runs with an inside edge that went for four.

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Next Home T20 Match

Kent Spitfires face Sussex Sharks in a Friday-night showdown – the War of the Wealds!

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