T20 Blast Final Kent v September 19th

Neil Whitaker reports

KENT Spitfires won the  T20 Blast  for the second time by beating Somerset by 25 runs.

After 17 overs of the Spitfires innings  you would have got long odds on a Spitfires victory but big hitting from Jordan Cox got the Kent Spitfires to a score they could defend.  With ball they defended that score incredibly and when they fielded, Cox shown again by taking a catch on the boundary and spectacularly assisted with another.

With three overs left of the Spitfires innings they  were on 118 for five,at the end of the 18th their score had gone up 133 for five and by the end of their 20 overs they had scored 167 for seven.  Cox was unbeaten on 58 from 58 balls with three sixes. He pulled Josh Davey for his third six to bring up his fifty.

Spitfires captain Sam Billings said: “I think it’s a complete team effort. As a club we had a whole squad wiped out for a couple of games and for guys to come in and the work behind the scenes from all the coaches and Paul Downton has been phenomenal and that's kind of the trend over the last few years. The reason for guys stepping up and opportunities for young players like the man next to me(Cox). Just a complete squad effort. Everyone’s chipped in with a match-winning performance every now and then. That’s the makings of a really good team and a squad. So, well deserved winners I think in the end.”

I reckon Darren Stevens made his debut before Cox was born. Something ridiculous like that!. Experience in big occasions like this is priceless.. Darren’s been here before. He’s been at the end of victory before. That experience but on the flip side of that, the exuberance of youth. Kind of taking everything in their stride. He’s encapsulated that better than anyone and he’s been our best player this year in the T20 blast. At times has played a completely different knock when he’s just needed to get his head down and tonight you’ve seen his raw ability that we all see but then do it on a big stage like that and not to mention his fielding as well. So yeah it’s a perfect blend and the other thing I’d add is the consistent thing regardless of age is the constant work ethic of everyone,the want to get better and also the belief that we can win things. We’ve been close at times. There’s been close games over the last few years. We’re a very tight knit group. Everyone looks after each other and backs each other up and i think that's what you saw today was that support and that blend together.”

Cox said: “If I am honest with you, I was more bothered about getting off a pair. Once I got one, I was pretty happy I could have just stopped there if iI’m honest with you. As most players do, I took my time to get in and that's what I did tonight and managed to end up picking the bowler that I wanted to go after and it came off today. Another day you hit it  that straight up and you’re out but today it came off and luckily it was finals day!”.

When that man, Darren  Stevens came in at the fall of Jack Leaning’s wicket the Spitfires fans must have been down but Stevens raised them when he immediately flat batted Overton over the long off  boundary for a six.  With Cox they added 30 in three overs before Stevens was run out by a direct hit from Overton.

Somerset won the toss and put the Spitfires into bat; both teams were  unchanged from their semifinals and Rodolfo Van Der Merwe appeared to have won the match for Somerset with three for 19 in his four overs.

After a cagey first three overs Daniel  Bell-Drummond moved his left foot out of the way and launched Davey for the first six of the match in the fourth over.  After drilling Van Der Merwe to long off boundary, Bell-Drummond pulled the next ball to Will Smeed at mid off.  Joe Denly blasted the next ball and Tom  Abell ran for mid off to long off dove and took a spectacular catch. Van Der Merwe got his third wicket of the match when Sam Billings flat batted him to Lewis Gregory at cover.

With clever field placing the Spitfires couldn’t penetrate the boundary, in frustration Leaning tried to pull Davey but top edged it to Ben Green at short fine leg.  Zak Crawley tried to pull the slow left arm spinner Lewis Goldsworthy but didn’t get hold of it and pulled it to Tom Lammonby on the deep mid wicket boundary.

In their chase Somerset lost their first wicket  to the second ball when Tom Banton was stumped by Billings off Denly for a duck. In the next over Goldsworthy tried to play Fred Klaassen to square leg but got a leading edge to Bell-Drummond in the covers.

Smeed pulled a poor short ball from Denly which was easily despatched over the square leg boundary for a six.  Three overs later he backed away from Klaassen and cut him above point’s  head for a boundary and tickled the next off his legs to the long leg boundary.

With Smed and Abell together Somerset were favourites but after adding 58 in seven overs with Smeed, Abell sliced a drive off Qais Ahmed to  Klaassen at point.

The Spitfires thought they had dismissed Smeed on 37 when he swept Denly to Cox on the  square leg boundary who caught the ball.  Also going for the ball was Bell-Drummond who collided with Cox and touched the boundary sponge.  The umpires reviewed it and decided Smeed wasn’t out.  Two balls later Smeed swept Denly again, this time more squarer  and Cox took the catch.  Denly got his third wicket when Lammonby played over a ball and was adjudged leg before.

Somerset captain Lewis Gregory pulled Stevens and to all purposes was heading for a six but  Cox took a flying leap and palmed the ball back to Matt Milnes.

Overton hit Stevens for a straight six and tickled the next ball to the fine leg boundary.  But the end was nigh, Overton flat batted Milnes to Leaning on the long on boundary. In the next over skied a bottom edge of Stewart to Bell-Drummond at point. Davey and Marchant de Lange took the Somerset score to 142.


September 23, 2021 8:59 am

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