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Matt Walker proud Kent are only Division 2 side in quarter-final

By Josh Fordham

Matt Walker says his Kent side are up for the challenge of facing ‘favourites’ Nottinghamshire in the quarter-final of the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Kent travel to Trent Bridge on Thursday to face the holders of the competition with a semi-final place up for grabs.

The winner will go on to play an away match at Worcestershire on Sunday.

Kent celebrating a wicket against Surrey in the Royal London One-Day Cup. Picture: Andy Jones.
Kent celebrating a wicket against Surrey in the Royal London One-Day Cup. Picture: Andy Jones.

Head coach Walker said: “We are very proud to be in that quarter-final. We are the only Division 2 team in the competition and we should take a lot from that achievement.

“The way we started this competition to fight our way back is a real achievement for us.

“Notts are a very good side and are probably favourites for the competition and are a very fine team. They have match winners throughout their line-up.

“It will be a real challenge but if we want to win this competition we would probably have to face them at some stage.”

Sam Billings was released by England on Wednesday to play in the quarter-final after not being selected for the match with Australia. Nottinghamshire's Jake Ball was also released while Alex Hales is unavailable for his county.

Stuart Broad could feature as he is not involved in the England ODI squad.

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Walker said: “They’ve got plenty more to come without those two out of the side. We are not going to underestimate them at all.

“They’ve got some serious threats throughout their team, Riki Wessels, Samit Patel and Chris Nash.

“We’ve just got to play our best and not give them too much respect. If we put in a performance like we have done in this competition I would like to think we have a chance.”

Kent have reached the knockout stages of the One-Day Cup in four of the last five seasons but have not made it to a Lord’s final since 2008.

The last time Kent played a 50-over match in Nottingham was in 2015 during the group stages of the competition.

Sam Billings top-scored with 115 not out as the Spitfires chased down Notts’ 335 with five wickets to spare.

Sam Billings. Picture: Andy Jones.
Sam Billings. Picture: Andy Jones.

Walker said: “I’ve had some success there as a player and a coach. Trent Bridge is a fantastic place to go and it should be a great game.

“In terms of motivation the boys will be well up for it and it’s a great opportunity to push on in this competition.

“I’m sure they won’t underestimate us. When you play a northern team it’s a bit of an unknown entity in some ways. You have all the footage at the touch of a button but it’s different when you come up against a side you haven’t played for a while.

“I think they will recognise the skill and talent we have and I will imagine they will be having the same conversations.

“It is two very good One-Day sides play good cricket and whoever plays the best on the day will come out on top.”

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