Shire fall to seven wicket defeat to Kent in T20 Blast

24 May 2023

A near full house at Canterbury saw the Kent Spitfires rout Gloucestershire by seven wickets in their opening Vitality Blast fixture of 2023.

The 2021 Champions cruised home with 6.3 overs to spare, closing on 116-3 in reply to the visitors 113 all out.

Micahel Hogan took three for 13 while Grant Stewart, Jack Leaning and Kane Richardson all took two apiece as the visitors collapsed from 82 for 3 all out in 16.3 overs.

Chris Dent was the visitors’ top scorer with 55, but none of his team mates made more than 12.

Tom Smith claimed three for 22 but it was a chastening evening for Goucestershire. Joe Denly anchored Kent’s reply an unbeaten 35 before Jordan Cox stole the show by clubbing 39 from 17 balls, including a huge six for the winning runs.

With over 3700 packed into the Spitfire Ground and standing room only on the bankings, Gloucestershire’s chose to bat and repented at leisure.

Hogan struck early, getting Grant Roelofsen caught on the boundary by Joey Evison in the second over, although the momentum was back with the visitors when Kane Richardson’s first over as a Spitfire went for 19.

Leaning then bowled Miles Hammond for nine but Dent hit successive sixes in George Linde’s first over, only for the visitors to lose their last seven wickets for just 31 runs.

Leaning had Ollie Price caught at long off by Richardson for 12 and although Dent reached 50 when he glanced Leaning for four, Hogan started the collapse when he took two wickets in the tenth over. Dent fell to an acrobatic catch by Sam Billings, who was back behind he stumps after handing Cox the gloves for the last two championship games, before Jack Taylor top edged Hogan through to the wicket-keeper.

Denly ran out Zafar Gohar for eight before James Bracey swept Grant Stewart to the square leg boundary, where he was caught by Leaning for seven.

Two balls later Stewart bowled Paul van Meekeren for a duck and although Smith just survived the next delivery, he was out for four when he chipped Richardson to Jordan Cox.

Richardson then wrapped up the innings with 21 balls to spare when he had David Payne caught behind for a golden duck.

There was an early hiccup in the chase when Tawanda Muyeye tried to drive Smith and was caught by Hammond at mid-off for six but Kent were almost halfway to the target by the end of the powerplay, at 55 for one.

When Daniel Bell-Drummond was lbw to Smith for 27 it broke a 52-run partnership and Billings was then out for six when he tried to reverse-sweep Smith and fell to a juggling catch by Zafar, but that was as close as Kent came to a wobble.

With the run rate under four they didn’t need to take any risks but Cox seemed to be in a hurry, taking 17 from van Meekern in the 12th over, including a gubernatorial flicked six over backward square leg.

He scrambled a single of the next ball to keep the strike and then smacked Zafar for a huge six over into the Cowdrey Stand to win the game.

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