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Kent Spitfires captain Sam Northeast says they need three NatWest T20 Blast wins to keep quarter-final hopes alive

By KentOnline reporter

Sam Northeast concedes Kent will probably need to win their final three NatWest T20 Blast group games to stand a chance of a quarter-final spot.

The Spitfires slumped to the foot of South Group on Friday night after a six-wicket defeat to new leaders Hampshire at Canterbury.

They face a quick turnaround before visiting Somerset at 4pm on Saturday before finishing their campaign with a trip to Essex and the visit of Surrey to Canterbury next Friday.

Sam Northeast. Picture: Gary Browne
Sam Northeast. Picture: Gary Browne

Kent do have a game in hand on Sussex, who sit in fourth, but just three points ahead in an incredibly tight division.

Northeast claimed: "It does look like we might have to win all three. Lets start on Saturday, hopefully get a win and move on from there.

"Somerset is always a good pitch and small boundaries, an absolute bowlers nightmare, but nice for batting.

"We're going to have to play as well as we can, but we have some good memories down there from games where we've done well so hopefully that gives us a bit of a boost."

He added: "We're going to have to play well now to qualify, we know that, but we'll give it our best shot.

"It's just disappointing we've gotten off to such a poor start with the ball. We're going to have to sort that powerplay out."

Northeast should be boosted by the return of Kiwi overseas paceman Adam Milne after a thigh strain.

Milne is expected to start after coming through a fitness test on the field at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, on Friday night.

Northeast said: "We're hoping he will play. He didn't quite make Friday, but it was the first time he had bowled since his injury. There was a small chance of him playing against Hampshire but hopefully he'll be ready on Saturday and finish off the competition with us."

If Kent are to stand any chance of qualifying they will need to address their form in the opening six overs, when fielding restrictions are in place, with both bat and ball.

On Friday the visitors raced to 79-1 from the six-over powerplay thanks in large part to 20-year-old opener Calvin Dickinson, just a day removed from his T20 debut, as he rattled 51 from just 24 balls including eight fours and two sixes.

By contrast Kent had been 40-1 at the end of their powerplay, having lost opener Joe Denly for a duck for the second game in succession, and went on to post a below-par 167-7.

Northeast went on to make a superb 59 - his 17th half-century in the format - to continue his own fine form, but he admitted: "It is very frustrating at the moment. With the ball we never got into the game to be honest.

"We felt like we should got 175 or 180 so we were a little short with the bat. When me and Bilbo were going (adding 66 in less than seven overs) we felt like we could get there but we faltered a little bit and lost a few wickets.

"It just hasn't quite worked for us in the powerplay at the moment. I know the guys are trying hard to improve but it's just not quite happening for them. I'm sure the guys are disappointed and are going to try and get it right on Saturday."

He added: "Dickinson played really well and put us under pressure from ball one - that's what you want from a run-chase, to get off to an absolute flyer like that. He did it for them and then you have James Vince in brilliant touch who is extremely hard to bowl at.

"We never really got going in our powerplay, I thought Liam Dawson bowled really well.

"We've been trying a few different things in our powerplay in terms of spin, etc, but nothing quite seems to be working at the moment.

"We'll have to scratch our heads again and come up with a few more plans."


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