Published: 14:33, 20 June 2022
| Updated: 14:40, 20 June 2022
Matt Walker admitted Kent’s attempt at defending their T20 Blast title was “feeble”.
Spitfires have lost eight of their 10 South Group games so far and can no longer make the quarter-finals.
It comes less than a year after they beat Somerset by 25 runs on finals day at Edgbaston.
But, despite being largely the same group of players, Kent look a pale reflection of that side.
“It’s done, we can’t qualify now,” admitted head coach Walker. “Eight points left on the table takes us to 12 if we win them all and I don’t think that will be enough.
“That’s the sad truth, we’re out of this competition. It’s been a pretty feeble defence of our title.
“That’s pretty hard to take when you’ve been pretty good at this format for the last three or four years.
“We’ve always been in and around the knockout stages and we’re nowhere near. It can happen, and that’s the thing with this competition.
“It shows when you’re not getting things quite right on the field, the confidence starts to drain and you don’t get over the line in a few tight games and you don’t perform quite as you want to.
“The margins as you well know are so much smaller in this format. We just haven’t played well enough in any aspect consistently to get us on a little run.
“There’s been some moments, there’s been some individual brilliance from time to time but as a collective we certainly haven't put the pieces together enough.
"The facts are on the page, we just haven't been good enough and it’s as simple as that.
“We will have a long, hard look at it as we have done throughout this competition and review it when we get the chance to sit down and work it all out.
"You like to think you’ve got the tools in the camp to be able to play the cricket we want to play and we just haven't done it this year and that’s been extremely frustrating.”
No team has ever won back-to-back T20 titles in domestic English cricket. Kent’s experiences this summer have shown just how difficult a task it is.
“It’s an interesting stat,” reflected Walker. “Getting out of this group is always a challenge, it’s the number one focus as it’s a difficult group with very good sides.
“As champions you go into the format with confidence and hope the belief you get from winning a trophy starts to show.
“We got off to a slow start and haven't been able to find a formula that gets us on a run. Usually it does happen, you get a run of two, three, four games and you hope that continues.
“We just haven’t been able to get a foothold enough of the time.
“It’s draining and frustrating for everyone. It’s not where we want to be, we want to be challenging, we want more success for this county and after last year when we got over the line and won something it would be a real stepping stone to further big things.
“Obviously we’ve crashed down to earth pretty quickly this year.
“We know this format can punish you, it’s punished us a lot. We haven’t been at our best and we’ve paid the consequences for it.
“We can over-analyse it as much as you want but the bottom line is our skills haven’t been good enough and we haven’t played like that confident team we want to be.”