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Kent Spitfires all-rounder Darren Stevens remains hopeful side can reach knockout stages of NatWest T20 Blast

By Aidan Barlow

Darren Stevens believes Kent Spitfires are on course for a place in the knockout stages of the NatWest T20 Blast, despite their dramatic tie at rivals Glamorgan “feeling like a defeat.”

The all-rounder dragged the visitors into contention with a trademark 71-run blast from 39 balls, including six sixes and paved the way for a dramatic final over which saw Kent require just three runs to win, only to fall one short, losing three wickets along the way.

The point-apiece kept Kent fourth in South Group, a point behind their hosts, although Stevens, 38, said: “Hopefully down the line it won’t matter too much, so long as we keep playing good cricket and start stringing a few wins together.

“In our eyes it felt like a lost game whereas in their eyes it was a game they won.”

With the top four in each group after 14 games going through to the quarter-finals, Stevens admitted beating the teams below them in the table was key, starting with the visit of Sussex – who have lost five of their seven games – on Friday night.

He said: “We want to be in the top four. We’ve got a good bond going in the group at the minute.

“Keysey has got the boys playing fearless cricket and that’s good. We want to concentrate on keeping that momentum going.

“If we keep playing as we are doing, we’ll win more games than we lose. We will definitely be looking for those two points on Friday.”

Darren Stevens Picture: Barry Goodwin
Darren Stevens Picture: Barry Goodwin

Stevens reflected on the late drama at Cardiff which denied the Spitfires a fourth win.

He said: “It did feel like a rollercoaster. Looking at my last few knocks, I’ve not had a chance to get in.

“This was the first time I’ve had a chance to try and get an innings together. I wasn’t too bothered about the score, I just knew that if I was still in at the end, then we’d be somewhere close.”

Stevens added: “We needed three off the last over, tailenders or not you’ve still got to win that game. And then one off the last ball to win, I think Doug Bollinger forgot he had to run.”

Stevens passed 12,000 First Class runs against Glamorgan this week, although he again played down the milestone, saying: “I suppose it’s a nice achievement – the more runs the merrier.”

Kent’s winless streak reached five games in LV= County Championship Division 2 in Cardiff but Stevens insisted: “We’re not far off. We’ve been unlucky this week with some good balls. We had a lot of nicks that never carried or went wide, a lot of chop-ons.

“We’re there or thereabouts. We’ve got a few hundreds and the young boys have got a few 20s and 30s and it’s not long until they turn into 70s or 80s and the odd hundred.”

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