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Kent Spitfires lose by 57 runs to Essex Eagles in Royal London One-Day Cup

By KentOnline reporter

A youthful Kent Spitfires side could not avoid a 57-run loss at home to Essex in their rain-hit Royal London One-Day Cup swansong on Wednesday night.

Having already been assured of bottom place in South Group, Kent gave domestic List A debuts to Zak Crawley and Imran Qayuum with senior players including Darren Stevens and Matt Coles rested.

Qayuum, a 23-year-old spinner bagged two wickets including the prized scalp of former England Test captain Alastair Cook in his first over.

Imran Qayyum. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Imran Qayyum. Picture: Barry Goodwin

"That was special," said Qayyum: "To get England's greatest Test batsman with my fifth ball felt pretty good. I went for a few more runs than I wanted to thereafter, but that's a wicket I'll always remember."

Essex landed their seventh win in eight starts to reach the semi-finals following a triumph on the Duckworth-Lewis method after the heavens opened 11 overs into Kent's reply.

In pursuit of the visitors’ 307-6 the hosts had slumped to 50-3 after 11 overs when the rain arrived abruptly to end proceedings and inflict a seventh defeat upon the Spitfires.

Kent opened their reply with in-form Daniel Bell-Drummond and Crawley, who was making his first-team debut.

In attempting to force the pace, the former Tonbridge School pupil clipped Jamie Porter to Varun Chopra at deep square leg and marched off for two.

With his side already 30-odd behind on the asking rate, Kent skipper Sam Northeast smeared across the line to be bowled by Ashar Zaidi.

Zaidi struck in his next over by snaring Sean Dickson lbw on the back foot, bringing in Alex Blake, who hit three quick boundaries before the rain intensified to end proceedings just before 6.30pm.

Batting first after winning the toss, Cook swept to a comfortable run-a-ball 50 and contributed 54 to an opening stand of 95 with Chopra before he lent back to cut the fifth ball of Qayyum's first over, only to edge into the gloves of Adam Rouse.

Chopra posted a half-century from 76 balls and appeared destined for three figures until he chopped on when also aiming a late cut against Qayyum to go for 83.

Callum Haggett accounted for Tom Westley (35) before Dan Lawrence perished with 32 to his name, driving on the up against Ivan Thomas he picked out Bell-Drummond tumbling to his right at mid-off.

After a quickfire 22, Zaidi holed out to long-on to gift Charlie Hartley a wicket, then Ravi Bopara, on 49, sliced to backward point to give Haggett a second scalp.

Qayyum also bagged two, albeit at a cost of 79 runs after Kent - without a hope of qualification and having bid farewell to their overseas player Wayne Parnell - opted to rest six regulars.

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