Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Kent Spitfires down Worcestershire Rapids to reach One-Day final

Match result- Worcestershire 306-6 vs Kent 307-8

Worcestershire won the toss and elected to bat first.

Kent win by 2 wickets with 2 balls to spare

Team News-

  • Kent Spitfires squad: 23 Daniel Bell-Drummond, 6 Joe Denly (c), 4 Heino Kuhn, 58 Sean Dickson, 10 Alex Blake, 3 Darren Stevens, 42 Will Gidman, 12 Adam Rouse (wk), 25 Calum Haggett, 24 Matt Henry, 1 Harry Podmore, 8 Mitch Claydon, 11 Imran Qayyum, 33 Adam Riley

  • Worcs Rapids squad: 33 Joe Clarke, 5 Callum Ferguson (c), 15 Brett D’Oliveira, 27 Daryl Mitchell, 29 Tom Fell, 10 Ben Cox (wk), 44 Ross Whiteley, 30 Ed Barnard, 34 George Rhodes, 31 Charlie Morris, 22 Dillon Pennington, 36 Patrick Brown, 61 Adam Finch

When Harry Podmore smashed a back-foot drive through the off-side, jubilation erupted on the away team balcony as the Kent Spitfires reached their first Lord’s final since 2008. Largely thanks to the classy century of South-African Heino Kuhn, the Spitfires inflicted heartbreak on the Worcestershire home support. The Rapids, having topped their North group prior to the knock-out phase, were missing both Moeen Ali and Joe Leach, which Kent capitalised on during the run chase.

Worcestershire Recover from Poor Start

Worcestershire found themselves in trouble by the fourteenth over, with the top four all dismissed for low scores. The team appeared to struggle after electing to bat first at their home venue. Darren Stevens, Kent’s notorious one-day specialist, picked up the two crucial wickets of Joe Clarke and Daryl Mitchell, ending the innings with figures of 2-33 from his 10 overs.

Brett D’Oliveira (78) and Ben Cox (122 not out) rebuilt the Worcestershire innings with a partnership of 140, setting the platform for the Rapids to reach 300. Ed Barnard backed up the middle-order pair, sharing an equally important partnership of 109 with Cox. The former’s 50 came from only 28 balls spent at the crease, including two imposing sixes.

While knowing that their score was competitive, Worcestershire understood they needed to bowl well to halt Kent. The Spitfires entered the encounter in sublime form, having beaten Nottinghamshire Outlaws by 9 wickets on their previous outing in the One-Day competition.

The Spitfire Response

In similar fashion to Worcestershire, the Spitfires batsmen lost early wickets with Daniel Bell-Drummond, Joe Denly and Sean Dickson failing to make 10 runs between them. However, Heino Kuhn anchored the innings with a superb 127 from 118 balls, continuing his good form. Wicket-keeper Adam Rouse and Alex Blake added further support with valuable knocks of 70 and 61 respectively, meaning the Spitfires remained firmly in the game.

With 12 balls remaining, Kent required 16 runs to win with three wickets in hand. The bowling of Ed Barnard proved difficult for the batsmen to dispatch to the boundary. Only 5 runs were conceded in the penultimate over, a mightily impressive effort.

Ultimately, the fate of the match rested on the shoulders of young 19-year-old Pat Brown, who had already picked up three wickets. In spite of Brown’s earlier heroics with the ball, Kuhn launched the second ball of the over into the stands to put the balance of the game firmly in Kent’s hands. Although the centurion was dismissed a ball later, Podmore’s boundary from the fourth ball of the over condemned the Rapids to a semi-final exit.

The Home of Cricket Awaits

The final, to be played on the 30 June, will be an opportunity for Kent to put an end to a 10-year trophy drought in one-day competitions. The side will enter the final brimming with confidence, especially knowing they are able to excel without England star Sam Billings. In England cricket’s very own Battle of Britain, the Spitfires have the chance to write their names in history at Lord’s.

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