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Kent Cricket head coach Matt Walker reacts to Vitality Blast T20 defeat to Surrey

Kent head coach Matt Walker described Friday's one-run Vitality Blast defeat to Surrey as a 'massively missed opportunity.'

Needing 172 to win at the Spitfire Ground win Kent appeared to be well on course all the time openers Daniel Bell-Drummond and Zak Crawley were at the crease.

Both men hit half-centuries – Crawley's 59 being his maiden fifty in the competition – in adding115 in 12.4 overs but from a position of strength the hosts unaccountably lost their way.

Kent head coach Matt Walker Picture: Ady Kerry
Kent head coach Matt Walker Picture: Ady Kerry

With 18 wanted from 12 balls and nine wickets intact, the odds still looked heavily in Kent's favour but the loss of Bell-Drummond (64) and Alex Blake in the penultimate over tipped the balance.

It came down to Kent requiring 12 from the last over but Sam Curran restricted them to six from the first five balls, and with a six needed to win Heino Kuhn could only manage a four.

Walker admitted defeat was hard to take particularly as Kent looked in control for most of their reply.

He said: "We probably played 90% of brilliant cricket and 10% where we didn't play very well and it's cost us the game.

"It's T20 it can go like that, you think you're winning the game and all of a sudden (there's) a period which doesn't quite go your way and you walk off having lost.

"It's very hard to take, you scratch your head and wonder how that was possible.

"The ends of both innings were probably the difference, they had a very good end (scoring 52 from the final three overs) we did not so much and that's the difference."

Walker praised the contribution of his openers but did concede that his side lost their way after that pair had been separated.

He explained: "There's so much good (to come out of the game) and that's hard to accept when you walk off with a loss, but I was really pleased for Deebs and Zak.

"We haven't really done that this season, got off to a start like that.

"I thought those two were brilliant, (they) really set it up, we were way ahead after 10 overs.

"They played with really good intent with Zak playing really positively which is great. We know he can do it and it was really only a matter of time before he got a score of substance.

"We lost our way, probably overs 15, 16, 17, 18, we just got stuck and weren't able to really put our foot on the gas and that made it difficult for the last two overs.

Daniel Bell-Drummond top scored with 64 against Surrey Picture: Ady Kerry
Daniel Bell-Drummond top scored with 64 against Surrey Picture: Ady Kerry

"When it gets up to 10s, 11s off the last two overs, it's 50-50. You still think you've got a chance but it wasn't to be.

"It's hard to kind of understand how it happened like that, but that's the game. People can bowl well at you and you get shut down for a bit.

"We just needed someone to really take the initiative and try and find a big over from somewhere.

"That game was there, we'd won that game, it was there deep in our pocket but we just did not quite finish it off and that hurts.

"It's a massively missed opportunity, that's the bottom line we had that game and it would have put us into a good position going into the last two games, it would have taken a little bit of pressure off us, but it's gone it's happened.

"It's a run, it makes it even more painful because you look at all small moments that could have been slightly better but that's the game you can't overthink it, you've just got to bounce back strongly next time around."

Kent are now third in the group table with the top four going through to the quarter-finals.

They host Gloucestershire at Canterbury on Thursday (7pm) before travelling to Chelmsford to face Essex the following evening.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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