Published: 09:47, 18 June 2018
Matt Walker expressed his pride for his Kent team who reached the final of the Royal London One-Day Cup after a two-wicket win against Worcestershire.
The Spitfires reached their target of 307 with just two balls to spare batting second at New Road.
The tense final over saw Kent hit 11 from the first four balls to seal the victory, with Harry Podmore hitting the winning boundary.
Head coach Walker said: “It was pretty emotional. It was a hell of a game of cricket and I think they are two very similar sides and I thought it might go down to something like that.
“It goes to show what we are about. We were in a bit of a tricky spot at one stage but it’s another performance through some serious belief, grit and skill.
“I’m a bit speechless. I’m so proud of the boys and the way they kept going. There was probably a bit of momentum against us when we came off the field but just to see how everyone responded and the emotion afterwards is great.”
Kent’s bowlers again got them off to a brilliant start to put the Worcestershire batters under pressure from the off after the home side won the toss.
The Rapids were reduced to 48-4 after some excellent bowling by Matt Henry (1-60), Harry Podmore (2-55) and Darren Stevens (2-33).
Brett D’Oliveira (78) and Ben Cox put on a superb partnership of 140 for the fifth wicket before the former was out to a superb one-handed catch by Matt Henry on the boundary.
Cox pushed on and smashed his way to a century ending the innings 122 not out with Ed Barnard playing a quick cameo at the end of the innings with 50 from 28 balls to see Worcester finish on 306-6.
Walker said: “We always look for the positives in the interval. We think about how we are going to go about it. There’s nothing major or too in depth we want the boys to back themselves when they get out there.
“From where they were at one stage it was too many probably. We didn’t finish well in our innings. What we know about this ground and the scores that have been posted here it was a little under par.”
Up stepped Heino Kuhn who hit his fourth century in his fifth innings in the One-Day Cup, which is an English List A record, to guide Kent home.
He ended on 127 and was out in the final over with Kent needing four to win. Harry Podmore kept his composure to hit the winning boundary.
Kuhn was well supported in his innings by Adam Rouse (70), who was called into the side after Sam Billings played for England on Saturday, and Alex Blake (61).
Walker added: “That was one of the greatest innings I have seen. He was out there in a tricky period but the calmness and skill he showed at the crease.
“It was a shame he wasn’t there at the end to see it through but what an innings that was. You want your big players to come to the party in a semi-final when it’s needed and that’s him.
“Another player we’ve signed who fits completely into the fabric of our dressing room, great fun but hugely competitive and wants to play.
“He (Harry Podmore) wants to be a genuine all-rounder and I’m not surprised he did that. I’m so thrilled for him as he’s not played that much in this competition.
“He won us that game in Trent Bridge and today he got their best player out in Callum Ferguson.”
Kent will play in the final at Lord’s on Saturday, June 30 against the winner of the second semi-final on Monday between Hampshire and Yorkshire.