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Matt Walker hails fighting spirit of Kent after dramatic one run win at Hampshire

By Josh Fordham

Matt Walker says Kent showed great character to beat Hampshire in the Royal London One-Day Cup on Sunday.

In a nail-biting finale, the Spitfires won by one run at the Ageas Bowl to make it back-to-back wins in the competition.

Hampshire looked to be comfortably winning the match with them needed just six runs off the last two overs.

Calum Haggett. Picture: Andy Jones
Calum Haggett. Picture: Andy Jones

Head coach Walker said: “It felt like the game had gone. The wicket became a belter and then they were in complete control.

“They had a guy at the crease with a hundred behind him and another on 40 or 50 and in those situations you don’t tend to win games of cricket.

“It really shows the character of our team that if you just hang on in there and take it as deep as you can.

“The 49th over from Calum was sensational, they needed six off 12, and that gave Matt something to defend.

“All of a sudden them needing three off the last ball and it could go either way.

“It was a great game of cricket. You win those games one in every 50 and I don’t think we would have won that sort of game last year and showed that fighting spirit to the end.”

Matt Henry. Picture: Andy Jones
Matt Henry. Picture: Andy Jones

Kent posted 296-4 off their 50 overs thanks to Daniel Bell-Drummond’s second half century of the competition before he was run out for 82.

Heino Kuhn had to retire hurt on 25 after getting struck on the arm by the ball. Sean Dickson then hit eight boundaries to hit an unbeaten 68 off 41 balls to post the competitive total.

Walker said: “I think our score was par. The boys up front played nicely and Daniel and Zak came through the early powerplay unscathed.

“We perhaps lost our way in the middle overs a bit and put our foot down a bit earlier but it’s always easier to say in hindsight.

“The innings at the end between Sean and Alex was fantastic and swung the game back in our favour.

“It was a match defining innings from Sean and I’m really pleased for him and for Alex and Stevo to come in the end and chip in with some runs. We gave ourselves a chance with that score.”

Zak Crawley. Picture: Andy Jones
Zak Crawley. Picture: Andy Jones

Joe Weatherly scored an unbeaten 105 as it looked to be a comfortable run chase for Hampshire.

With the home side needing six off the last two overs, Calum Haggett and Matt Henry conceded just two runs each off the final 12 balls to give Kent the win.

Walker said: “That could have been us possibly out of the competition if we had lost that game but now we’ve given ourselves a good chance of progressing.

“We won’t take this for granted and we will have to play as good, if not better, than we did against Hampshire when we play Somerset on Tuesday.”

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