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Kent Spitfires head coach Matt Walker admits there is little room for error if they are qualify from T20 Blast South group

Head coach Matt Walker accepts there is little margin for error if Kent Spitfires are to qualify from their T20 Blast group - and they are even relying on the elements now to a degree!

Reigning champions Kent finally recorded their first T20 win this summer at the sixth attempt on Sunday, beating Middlesex by 55 runs at The Spitfire Ground in Canterbury, largely thanks to a Joe Denly century.

Kent head coach Matt Walker. Picture: Keith Gillard
Kent head coach Matt Walker. Picture: Keith Gillard

The Spitfires will look to build on that maiden success tonight (7pm start) when they face Essex at Chelmsford.

With eight matches to play, Kent will need to win most - and hope few matches are rained off if the weather turns this season - if they are to qualify from the South group.

“We cannot really slip up any more,” said Walker, whose team are at Somerset on Friday night before they return to County Championship Division 1 action at home to Gloucestershire from Sunday.

“We can probably afford one more loss. You usually need seven or eight wins to get through.

“We have got to dodge the showers, we cannot really afford a wash-out to have any sort of chance!

“But we have got it in us. We have shown we are a very good T20 side over the last few years.

“But when you start slowly and you are competition holders, it stands out like a sore thumb. But it [Kent’s poor form] is not through complacency or over-confidence.

“This group were very aware we needed to be better than we were last year. But we have not reached anywhere near those levels.

“But there’s different ways of qualifying and, this year, we are going to have to do it a different way.

“Last year we started well but, if we are to do it this time, we are going to perform at the back-end in the group.”

Kent have named an unchanged 13-man squad for their match against Essex with veteran all-rounder Darren Stevens along with bowlers Harry Podmore and Nathan Gilchrist out injured while batsman Zak Crawley remains on England duty.

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