Surrey v Kent Spitfires (Fri, 6.30pm)

Thursday 5th July 2018

Men’s First XI

Vitality Blast

Surrey v Kent Spitfires (Fri, 6.30pm)

Kent Spitfires start the Vitality Blast season at oldest rivals Surrey on Friday (6 July) in front of a capacity crowd at The Oval.

The two counties first competed in 1709 and a Queen Anne Silver Shilling coin, first struck in the same year, will first be used at the toss and at all future matches between the clubs.

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The rare coin will be retained by the victorious captain and used at the following fixtures to remember county cricket’s oldest rivalry.

Carlos Brathwaite, Heino Kuhn and Harry Podmore could make their competitive debuts for Kent in a new-look line-up with New Zealand paceman Adam Milne returning to the Garden of England after a club-record 5/11 against Somerset last season.

Skipper Sam Billings will lead the side for the first time in a competitive T20 and believes the overseas signings could give Kent an edge this summer.

The Kent Cricket Academy graduate said: “I’ve had the pleasure of playing with him and against him. It’s far better playing with him.

“Carlos is a brutal striker of the cricket ball and his bowling is hugely improved. He bowls the tough overs as well so it’s great to have that from a captaincy point of view.”

“Everyone at the club saw what a huge asset Adam Milne was last year. He’s very similar to Matt Henry in terms of his demeanour. They are very competitive and great blokes both on and off the field.

“He’s highly skilled in that format of the game. He has raw pace and can bat as well. It’s great to have him back and it’s great to have that continuity.”

Surrey overseas duo Aaron Finch and Nic Maddinson are away on international duty as is England duo Jason Roy and Sam Curran but former Kent man Morne Morkel bolsters the Brown Caps’ bowling.

Surrey include Academy wicketkeeper-batsman Jamie Smith, 17, in the squad for the first time alongside fellow graduates Will Jacks, Ryan Patel and Kent-born spinner Freddie van den Bergh who could make their debuts.

See the Spitfires in action at The County Ground, Beckenham in our first home fixture against Hampshire next Friday (13 July, 5.30pm) before the return match v Surrey at The Spitfire Ground a week later (Friday 20 July, 7pm).

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Kent Spitfires squad: 7 Sam Billings (c/wk), 23 Daniel Bell-Drummond, 10 Alex Blake, 26 Carlos Brathwaite, 6 Joe Denly, 58 Sean Dickson, 25 Calum Haggett, 4 Heino Kuhn, 20 Adam Milne, 1 Harry Podmore, 11 Imran Qayyum, 5 Ivan Thomas.

Surrey squad: Jade Dernbach (c), Gareth Batty, Scott Borthwick, Rory Burns, Rikki Clarke, Sam Curran, Matt Dunn, Ben Foakes, Will Jacks, Morne Morkel, Ryan Patel, Mathew Pillans, Ollie Pope, Jamie Smith, Freddie van den Bergh.

Stat attack

  • Sam Billings need three catches to surpass Geraint Jones’ club-record T20 haul for a wicketkeeper of 46
  • Alex Blake has the overall club record for most T20 catches (50)
  • Kent Spitfires achieved their highest team T20 total at The Oval in 2015 when they smashed 231-7
  • Three of the ten T20 partnership records against Kent were achieved at the venue

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