About the Match
Kent registered an 8-wicket victory against Somerset and will now face Hampshire, which lost its match against Middlesex by 69 runs, on 2nd June at Southampton. Choosing to field first, Hampshire bowlers weren’t able to restrict the opponents and then the batsmen found it an uphill task to reach 196 runs; on the other hand, Kent successfully chased down 197 runs with more than 3 overs to spare against Somerset. Both teams have good resources but the team that can keep a cool head above its shoulders under crunch situations will be better placed to win the match on Thursday.
Although Gareth Andrew and Shahid Afridi put up brilliant spells with the ball taking 2 wickets each and stifling the run-flow against Middlesex, the batting line-up crumbled under pressure, managing to make only 126 runs in reply to 196. All-rounder Liam Dawson kept his feet stuck firmly at No.6, posting a well-made 46 from 29 deliveries while wicketkeeper batsman Adam Wheater scored 30 runs from half the number of balls; however, with all others in the top and middle order getting out cheaply, they were all-out by the 16th over.
Captain Sean Ervine will have to lead from the front in the upcoming game at home while openers Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams must focus on building a solid foundation whether batting first or during chase. Shahid Afridi is an exceptional all-rounder and along with others like Dawson and Ryan McLaren, Hamsphire definitely has good depth in the batting and bowling departments.
Speedsters Tino Best, Andrew and McLaren need to put up a disciplined attack against the hard-hitting Kent batsmen while the spinners Afridi, Dawson, Crane and Will Smith will have their work cut for them to restrain the opponents with their clever tactics. If the batsmen come out all guns blazing, Hampshire has good chances to open their points tally with a win here.
Openers Daniel Bell-Drummond and Joe Denly put up a fiery record performance as they posted an opening partnership of 150 runs in their team’s chase for 197 runs against Somerset; while the former made an unbeaten 83 off 47, Denly stood firm by his partner to score 75 from just 38 balls raining 6 sixes and 5 boundaries. Later captain Sam Northeast contributed well with a quick fire 27 from 14 and Stevens kept the scoreboard ticking to ensure they crossed the finish line with ease.
Earlier, the bowlers put up a good show with spinner Fabian Cowdrey taking 3-18 and fast bowlers Griffiths, Coles and Claydon taking 4 wickets between them in regular intervals. However, others like Stevens and James Tredwell proved to be expensive; the tall target of 197 was challenging but thanks to the good batting performance, Kent emerged victorious by 8 wickets.
They have a strong batting line-up that has in-form players but they need to be cautious against Hampshire bowlers, who can dominate with their variations; with good strategy and perfect execution, Kent definitely can keep its winning momentum going.
Although both teams are equally matches in terms of experience and talent, we feel Kent with its boosted morale and batting depth has better chance to win the match on Thursday