Spitfires stumble at Hove

Friday 2nd August 2019

Men’s First XI

Vitality Blast

Spitfires stumble at Hove

Vitality Blast leaders Kent Spitfires lost their maximum record with a nine wicket defeat by Sussex Sharks at Hove on Friday night.

The Sharks, who themselves are unbeaten in the competition, moved to second place in the South Group table with this victory with four overs remaining.

Chasing 155, Sussex got off to a fine start when Luke Wright and Phil Salt powered 38 runs off the first four overs before Wright was bowled by New Zealand quick Adam Milne with the last ball of the fifth over for 24 off 18 balls.

Sussex were 81-1 at the halfway stage, with Salt leading the charge with an unbeaten 40.

Laurie Evans finished with 65 not out from 35 deliveries, with six fours and three sixes, while Salt’s unbeaten 63 from 44 ball included six fours and two sixes.

Jofra Archer, keen to prove his fitness for the second Ashes Test against Australia at Lord’s, returned for the Sharks and so did Chris Jordan, replacing Reece Topley, who was not 100 per cent fit.

Archer, who will also play for Sussex 2nd XI in a three-day match against Gloucestershire at Blackstone, starting on Tuesday, went for 20 in his first two overs. But Jordan broke through for the Sharks in the third over when his off-cutter hit the top of the dangerous Zak Crawley’s off-stump.

Daniel Bell-Drummond responded by hitting Jordan for successive sixes over square-leg as Kent raced to 52 after five overs before some tight bowling by Tymal Mills, who dismissed Ollie Robinson and Heino Kuhn in successive overs, and Rashid Khan, who bowled Bell-Drummond with a googly for 50, gave the Sharks some control in the middle overs.

When Archer returned to bowl the 17th over, with the Spitfires 130-5, he conceded just three runs. In the next over Mills dismissed the dangerous Mohammad Nabi for a 29-ball 43.

In his final over, Archer conceded just five runs and had Milne caught in the deep by Phil Salt to finish with figures of 1-28 from his four overs.

The Spitfires move on to hosting Hampshire at The County Ground, Beckenham on Sunday.

Kent head coach Matt Walker said: “We weren’t at our best, unfortunately, today. I don’t want to make any excuses.

“Maybe it was a hangover from the huge adrenalin rush of the other night. We weren’t at our best and they were.

“That’s what happens if you come up against a good side in T20 cricket.

“We didn’t get quite enough runs. They have a very good bowling attack. They have serious skills in their ranks. They made it very difficult for us and we lost wickets at the wrong time.

“They bowled really, really well and we didn’t get enough momentum going into the last four or five overs. And then they have real power hitters at the top of the their order, they came off and in the end it was a bit of a stroll for them.

“We don’t want to over-analyse it. We’ll take it on the chin and bounce back.”

Credit: ECB Reporters’ Network

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