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Kent Cricket head coach Matt Walker admits games against Hampshire and Somerset will stretch Spitfires

By Alex Hoad

Matt Walker admits the Spitfires face a tricky balancing act with two NatWest T20 Blast games – more than 200 miles apart – in 18 hours that could determine their fate.

Despite the deflating five-wicket defeat in their last South Group game at home to Sussex last Friday, Kent still harbour hopes of a top-four finish and a quarter-final place in an incredibly tight division.

While they sit just a point off the bottom in seventh spot, Kent remain just two points behind fourth-placed Hampshire, who visit Canterbury on Friday (7pm) and only three off second-placed Somerset, who they visit at 4pm the following afternoon.

Matt Walker. Picture: Andy Jones
Matt Walker. Picture: Andy Jones

Walker admitted the two days could be pivotal to their chances but warned: “It’s going to be a little bit tricky in terms of managing the tiredness levels and the travel we have to deal with.

“It’s the first time it’s happened this year – this is the one instance we’ve got when we’re under pressure.

“We’ll finish late on Friday and then it’s a long four hours on the bus to get down there in the middle of the night ready for 4pm on Saturday.

“We’ve been in these situations before but the boys understand and they are pretty resolute. We have to try and prepare as well as we can for Saturday.

“Sometimes people respond brilliantly to those sort of situations and find a way. We just have to make sure everyone gets enough sleep and turns up on the day ready for it. We’ll work a way out.”

Kent have yet to win consecutive games in the competition this season – generally alternating between winning and losing – but Walker hopes a quick turnaround could help build positive momentum.

He said: “It would be nice if we could get that first win on Friday night to lead us into the Saturday.

"We’ll pick a team to win each game whether that’s the same team or we make slight changes to take into account the ground size, surface or niggles.

“I’ll back a squad of 13 to be able to manage both games.”

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