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T20 finals day: Kent opener Zak Crawley says Spitfires are eyeing a new era of domination

Zak Crawley says Kent Spitfires want to become a dominant force in the T20 Blast as he prepares for his first finals day experience.

Opener Crawley believes this summer’s Kent squad is the best he has been involved with.

Zak Crawley in T20 Blast quarter-final action against Birmingham Bears. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Zak Crawley in T20 Blast quarter-final action against Birmingham Bears. Picture: Barry Goodwin

The 23-year-old is used to big occasions, having already played for England, but most of his team-mates featured in The Hundred competition this summer while skipper Sam Billings is a familiar face in world cricket having also played in the Indian Premier League and Australia's Big Bash.

“We have evolved massively," said Crawley. "This is definitely the best squad we have had.

“People have settled into their roles now. A lot of people who were new to the squad, the likes of Matt Milnes and Fred Klaassen, are now senior bowlers and they are experienced.

“They have played in The Hundred and played in front of big crowds, and I cannot think of many who haven’t actually had that experience. I think 10 or 11 out of the 11 played in The Hundred. We are a proper T20 side now.

“The aim is to win it this year, next year and for the next few years because we are a good enough side to compete.

“It's not just this year we want to win it, we want to become a dominant side in the competition.”

Crawley, who has represented England at Test and One-Day International level, struck a maiden three-figure international score of 267 against Pakistan at The Ageas Bowl last August.

He says any nerves ahead of Saturday’s finals day at Edgbaston can be a good thing - if channelled correctly.

The Spitfires face Sussex Sharks in their semi-final, the two best teams left in the competition according to Crawley, before the winner will meet either Somerset or Hampshire Hawks.

“Once you get the hang of it, you realise that those nerves actually help you on the big occasions,” he said. “You learn to embrace it a bit better.

“Hopefully everyone in the squad does the same and tries to embrace the day. Sussex have got a lot of big international players as well, so it won’t give us too much of an advantage because it's fairly even in that regard.

“But it's more actually the players that haven’t experienced that. If they embrace it well, I think we will come out on top.

“Whenever you talk to old players about what they won, all they ever talk about is what they won for teams, nobody ever talks about individual stuff. So it is massively important to win silverware.”

The Spitfires last made finals day in 2009 but they lost to Somerset in the semi-final.

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