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Spitfires go out of NatWest T20 Blast in last-ball drama

Saturday 15th August 2015

Men’s First Team

Kent Spitfires crashed out of the NatWest T20 Blast quarter finals after a nerve-jangling last-ball tie in Canterbury that saw Lancashire Lightning progress to finals day by losing fewer wickets.

Needing 143 for victory, half-centuries from Lancashire’s Ashwell Prince and Jos Buttler set up a dramatic finale in which the visitors needed six to win from the final over of the match bowled by Matt Coles.

In front of a 7,000-capacity crowd – the best seen at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence since 1993 – James Faulkner clubbed two from the final ball of the day to level the scores and, with only six wickets down, ensure Lancashire’s qualification to Finals Day at Edgbaston.

Chasing at an asking rate of 7.15 an over, Lancashire lost Alex Davies (2) in the third over when, in attempting a ramp shot over fine leg, he misjudged Coles’s slower ball to depart lbw.

Prince stepped up the run-rate with a four and six as 14 came off the fourth over from Mitch Claydon, who was replaced at the Pavilion End by Darren Stevens, who struck with his second ball, removing Karl Brown’s middle stump when the right-hander heaved across the line to leave the visitors on 37 for two after their powerplay.

Liam Livingstone (12) went lbw when attempting a slog sweep against James Tredwell, yet Buttler survived an even bigger shout when playing back to his first delivery from Tredwell.

The England wicketkeeper celebrated his escape by getting off the mark with a six over long-on as Lancashire reached 64 for three after 10 overs.

Prince became the first batsman in the match to pass 50 when he clipped Cowdrey over mid-wicket for a 40-ball half-century with five fours and a six. It was his fourth 50 in this season’s competition.

Buttler clattered his second maximum with a casual lofted cover drive against Ivan Thomas then, with 41 required off the last five overs, launched Tredwell into the Sky camera gantry above the pavilion for another six.

With the total on 130 Prince holed out to deep mid-wicket in the penultimate over and departed for 62 off 50 balls to end a fourth-wicket stand with Buttler that added 73 in nine overs.

Buttler clattered his second T20 half-century of the campaign from 36 balls and with five fours and three sixes only to blot his copy book by clubbing a simple catch to long off with five balls of the game remaining.

Steven Croft (4) sliced Coles’s next ball into the hands of Fabian Cowdrey at deep cover, but Faulkener held his nerve to hit a brace of twos to long-on that broke Kentish hearts.

Having won the toss and elected to field, Lancashire’s bowling attack gave little away in the early exchanges as Kent openers Joe Denly (15) and Daniel Bell-Drummond (8) posted 25 before both fell in consecutive deliveries to Kyle Jarvis.

Bell-Drummond sliced a drive on the up over extra-cover to be well caught on the run by Karl Brown then, after the batsmen crossed, Denly drove at a length ball to edge to a tumbling Jos Buttler.

Though four Kent batsmen made it into double figures thereafter, no one really took a grip on events and it took Tredwell’s season-best 31 not out from 18 balls to push the hosts to a seemingly modest 142 all out. A total they all but defended.

Faulkner finished with two for 28 for the visitors, but spinners Stephen Parry and Arron Lilley did the real damage claiming three for 31 and two for 21 respectively.

Fitzgerald Man of the Match: James Tredwell for his unbeaten 31 off 18 balls and 1-24 from four overs.

Click here for the scorecard