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Kent County Cricket Club all-rounder Azhar Mahmood praises young batsman Sam Billings

Azhar Mahmood hits out on his way to an unbeaten 106
Azhar Mahmood hits out on his way to an unbeaten 106

by Glenn Pearson

Experienced Kent all-rounder Azhar Mahmood has praised youngster Sam Billings for his match-winning knock against Warwickshire Bears at the St Lawrence Ground on Friday night.

Billings hit an unbeaten 58 to lead Kent Spitfires to a crushing 10-wicket win under the lights and Mahmood, who was playing in his first game of the season since returning from the Indian Premier League, was impressed with the 20-year-old’s display.

He said: "It was a very good win against Warwickshire and while any win is a win, it’s good to have got it in the manner that we did.

"It’s been great coming back and playing for Kent, it’s always been a great place to play and we have done well with Sam Billings showing the tremendous talent he has with that knock. He played particularly well, along with Rob Key, and all the bowlers put in a good performance apart from me, which is a good sign for us for the rest of the season."

Mahmood (pictured) struggled with the ball, going for 26 runs off his two overs, while team-mate Mark Davies conceded just 10 runs in his eight overs on the way to figures of 3-10 as the Spitfires restricted Warwickshire to 94-7.

Mahmood said: "Mark Davies has been brilliant and the way he bowled, taking 3-10 and conceding just 10 runs from eight overs was exactly what you want.

"We seem to be gelling very well and are playing some good cricket as a team."

Kent, fourth in Clydesdale Bank Pro40 Group C, have a chance to climb the table when they take on Unicorns at Garon’s Park, Southend today.

Skipper Rob Key has selected a 12-man squad with Ben Harmison and Mike Powell, both yet to feature in the CB40 this season, included, while Mahmood has been rested ahead of the Tunbridge Wells Festival, which begins on Wednesday.

Kent from: Billings, Key, Powell, Nash, Stevens, Northeast, Jones, Coles, Tredwell, Ball, Davies, Harmison.

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