Home   Canterbury   Sport   Article

Kent head coach Matt Walker reflects on Spitfires narrowly missing out on spot in T20 Blast knockout stages

Head coach Matt Walker felt sorry for Kent’s injury-hit squad as they narrowly missed out on qualifying for the T20 Blast knockout stages.

Spitfires’ hopes of making it to the Quarter-Finals appeared all-but-over when they went on a run of five successive defeats after their Blast-opening match win over Gloucestershire.

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

A six-match winning streak followed to revive their top-four hopes but, with one victory required from last week’s final two group games, they went down at home to Sussex Sharks in a rain-affected encounter and were beaten by South Group winners Somerset at Taunton on Sunday.

Ahead of their last group clash, Essex Eagles narrowly beat Surrey elsewhere off the last ball - had they lost there then Kent would have already been through before they played Somerset - and Spitfires fell 16 runs short of their target.

“We knew a few things could happen,” said Walker. “The last-ball drama at The Oval could change a few things.

“But from where we were at halfway, we probably knew it was going to come down to the last game. Going to Taunton to face the form side in the country was always going to be tough.

“With what we had at our disposal, we had a pretty tough hand.”

Spitfires played both of their last two matches without Australian overseas bowlers Kane Richardson and Wes Agar, experienced batting all-rounder Joe Denly and Dutch seamer Fred Klaassen while in-form Daniel Bell-Drummond suffered an injury while batting against Sussex.

Walker conceded: “We lost four key players in Agar, Denly, Klaassen and Deebs [Bell-Drummond].

“But we were extremely proud of the performance, we couldn’t ask the boys for more. We gave it everything we possibly could and I felt sorry for them, really.

“The second-half of the competition, I think we showed our true quality.

“Sussex, the game before, was probably an opportunity to get ourselves through before we went to Somerset.

“Again, things went against us. The weather didn’t really help but we gave it a good crack and just missed out there.

“You need a few things to go your way and they didn’t - that’s not making excuses - it’s just reasons.

“Quinny [Matt Quinn] had not played many T20s but did nicely and Blakey [Alex Blake] had a couple of quite nice innings, and Joey Evison really stepped up.

“But you want your best team available in the crunch matches. I would like to think, with them, it would’ve been a different story.

“But in terms of the effort and the way we played, I cannot fault anybody.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More