Match Report: Kent Spitfires vs. Essex

Wednesday 7th June 2023

Men’s First Team

Vitality Blast

Match Report: Kent Spitfires vs. Essex

The Battle of the Bridge took place for the first time in T20 cricket this season as Kent Spitfires hosted Essex at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in the Vitality Blast.

Kent Spitfires will face Hampshire Hawks in a T20 showdown at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence – under the lights on a Friday night:

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Sam Cook took a hat-trick as Essex beat the Kent Spitfires by four wickets in the Vitality Blast at Canterbury.

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The visitors recovered from an early-innings scare to close on 155 for six, Matt Critchley hitting an unbeaten 63.

Cook had taken four for 18 as Kent were held to 150 for eight, which actually represented a recovery. Joe Denly was the top scorer with 39 and Grant Stewart gave the hosts something to bowl at with 37 from 16 balls, but after slumping to 31 for four, Critchley’s measured innings saw Essex home with 10 balls to spare.

Kent were celebrating the 171s Canterbury Cricket Week but their decision to bat backfired when, having put on 32 for the opening wicket, they were rocked by a spell of four runs for four wickets in eight balls.

Daniel Bell-Drummond got away with an ugly shot off Shane Snater that sailed over the boundary, but he hit the next ball almost vertically and was caught by Feroze Khushi for 22.

Cook then sent Tawanda Muyeye’s stumps flying before getting Sam Billings caught behind for a golden duck and he claimed his first Blast hat-trick when Jordan Cox was plumb lbw.

With under five overs gone the remaining batters had little choice other than to drop anchor and Jack Leaning had made nine from 20 balls when he hit Critchley to Daniel Sams at forward square leg.

When Simon Harmer’s 15th over went for just two the old joke about it not being a test match leapt to mind, but the charge finally came in the 17th when George Linde hit Harmer for six, only to edge the next ball straight to Robin Das.

When Cook bowled Denly, Grant Stewart was left with the tail, but an eight-ball final over from Sams went for 27, including two sixes from Stewart, who was eventually caught by Das off the fifth legitimate delivery. A misfield allowed Kent to scramble two off the last ball, but the total still looked below par, until Essex started to bat.

Fred Klaassen, back after missing the start of the Blast for personal reasons, had Khushi lbw with the second ball of the innings.

It was one for two when Dan Lawrence edged Michael Hogan’s first ball down the leg side where he was brilliantly caught by Billings.

Hogan then bowled Das’s middle stump for 11, breaking Sky’s stump camera and when Michael Pepper went for 13, skying Kane Richardson to Billings Essex were 31 for four, but Paul Walter and Critchley steadied their nerves.

The former made 27 from 15 before he cut Stewart to Leaning and Sams chipped in with 17 before Linde bowled him.

Critchley never allowed the run rate to escalate while Will Buttleman survived an lbw shout from Linde and then reverse swept him for four, before hitting Hogan for six into the Old Dover Road gardens.

Fittingly Critchley hit the winning runs when he hit Joe Denly for six over cow corner.

The win keeps Essex well in contention for Finals Day and a fifth consecutive defeat leaves Kent’s hopes of qualifying looking almost skeletal.

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Kent’s Grant Stewart said: “It’s always a challenge when you lose wickets in the powerplay but you’ve got to hand it to Cook. There was a bit of assistance out there and he bowled really well, as we’ve seen him bowl in a lot of championship games as well.

“It was a bit frustrating that we managed to get to a bit of a score and the boys who bowled in the powerplay did really well and got us in the game, so it is a little bit disappointing but that’s cricket isn’t it?

“They (Denly and Linde) played really well, they set it up for us to have a little bit of a crack at the end. If they’d got out in those middle overs it would have made it an eve taller task for us so those boys deserve the credit as they batted really well through that difficult period and we managed to get a bit of a score.

“We bowled fairly well in patches but fell down at times as well.

“It’s a bit of a tough one to take, getting four wickets in the powerplay and come out on the losing side but it was a total where they could pace their innings quite nicely, knowing what they needed to chase.

“It was a massive bonus for us to have Fred Klaassen back, you saw how well he bowled today for all four overs, but specifically I think he was in the top three in the country last year in the powerplay so he’s massive asset to our team and the boys are really pumped to have him back in the team and playing for us. Hopefully he’ll help us turn a few results around.”

The Spitfires take on the Hawks this Friday

Kent Spitfires will face Hampshire Hawks in a T20 showdown at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence – under the lights on a Friday night:

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We will be supporting The BeYou Project, in association with the Club’s Official Charity Partner, Porchlight, during this match.

Buy your T20 tickets now to save money, avoid disappointment & to lock in supporting your Spitfires during an exciting Summer of white-ball cricket!

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Members do not need to pre-book their space at T20 matches as per last season – entry will be gained by scanning a valid 2023 Kent Cricket Membership card at the gate.

Should seated areas such as the Frank Woolley Stand also sell-out, an allocation is set aside for Members & Six Pack Plus Ticket Holders.