Spitfires defeat Surrey in Vitality Blast

Tuesday 1st September 2020

Men’s First XI

Vitality Blast

Spitfires defeat Surrey in Vitality Blast

Heino Kuhn marked his first innings as a father with a match-winning 42 not out from 31 balls to see Kent a five-wicket victory and their first win of this season’s Vitality Blast south group qualifiers.

On a slightly two-paced Canterbury pitch, Kuhn, whose wife Trudie gave birth to a baby daughter last week, kept his cool to garner four boundaries and see Spitfires over the win line on his season’s Blast debut.

Kuhn and Grant Stewart, with a muscular, unbeaten 21, added an unbroken 48 for the sixth wicket to rescue Kent from a mid-innings wobble.

Chasing Surrey’s 161 for four at an asking rate of 8.1/over, acting Kent captain Daniel Bell-Drummond (25) gave his side a fluent start with four boundaries in the opening three overs.

Zak Crawley opened his boundary account in the next over with a clipped four and a whipped six against Gus Atkinson as Kent’s openers sprinted to 49 before Bell-Drummond’s miscue against Matt Dunn skied to Will Jacks at mid-off.

Heino Kuhn, fresh from his spell of paternity leave, sat on his bat handle to see Crawley smash three successive fours during Atkinson’s next over as Kent reached 68 for one in their powerplay.

Slow left-arm spinner Daniel Moriarty struck with his fourth ball and ended Crawley’s cameo stay worth 32 after an uppish drive flew into the hands of Laurie Evans at extra cover.

Reigate-born Moriarty struck again in his next over when Alex Blake chipped an innocuous delivery straight to mid-wicket as Kent reached 91 for three at the mid-point of their reply.

Surrey continued to take pace off the ball by giving leg-spinner Scott Borthwick an over. The experiment initially failed as Jack Leaning cracked two fours, but then Leaning (21) under-edged a long-hop into the gloves of keeper Ben Foakes.

Kent’s slide continued as Moriarty pinned Jordan Cox leg before walking across his stumps and aiming leg-side as the 21-year-old rookie spinner chalked up a competition-best return of three for 25.

With 25 needed from the remaining 24 balls, Kuhn plundered four off Dunn, then Grant Stewart raised Kent’s 150 with a sliced drive over extra cover against Topley to reduce the target to nine off 12 balls.

Stewart, who finished unbeaten on 21, muscled a back-foot six over long-off and then sprinted a couple to deep mid-wicket to win it with nine balls in hand.

Earlier, classy knocks by Test batsmen Hashim Amla (75) and a competition-best unbeaten 56 from Rory Burns underpinned a Surrey total of 161 for four after the visitors had made a shaky start in stumbling to 28 for three inside four overs.

Batting first on a testing pitch and after losing the toss, Surrey lost their first wicket to the 11th ball of the match when Jacks sliced an attempted drive against Fred Klaassen to Alex Blake at extra cover.

Tim Groenewald dismissed a couple more in his opening over, the fourth of the game. Laurie Evans flicked leg-side to be caught by Cox, who replaced Ollie Robinson behind the stumps. Then, four balls later, Foakes got a thick inside edge on a full delivery only to drag the ball onto his leg stump as Surrey ended their batting powerplay on 39 for three.

Kent turned to spin for the 8th over but Imran Qayyum’s first ball of left-arm spin, a full toss, was reverse swept by Burns for the opening six of the match to raise Surrey’s 50.

Burns and Amla joined forces to post a 50 stand from 46 balls, Amla reaching the milestone with a clipped six from a Klassen length ball that Blake, positioned at cow corner, could only finger-tip over the ropes.

Stewart, who unveiled a full bag of tricks, finished a fine four-over stint with nought for 23, after which Amla reached a 40-ball half-century with four fours and a six.

The fourth-wicket partners extended their stand into three figures as Groenewald finished his bowling stint with two for 31, then Amla pressed the run-rate accelerator by swatting left-armer Klaassen for another maximum.

Burns duly reached his second T20 half-century from 44-balls with only a brace of fours and a six, but Amla’s fun ended in the final over when he risked a second run to Crawley at deep point to be run out and end a partnership that added 127 off 98 balls.

Credit: Mark Pennell, ECB Reporters’ Network


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