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We are down to the final day of the league stage of the Vitality T20 Blast and much to the fans' delight, there are still some matches that could have an impact on the knockout fixtures. While Kent have both qualified for the playoffs, they would still be looking to register a win in their next encounter and retain that second spot in the South Group table. Their next assignment is not going be easy considering that they are meeting Surrey, who are placed at the top of the table. Both sides are coming off wins in their respective encounters and should come out hard in the upcoming match as well. The match is scheduled to be played on 20th September at The Oval, London.
With just one loss in seven completed matches, Surrey have been the best side in the South Group and are rightly sitting at the top of the ladder. They have a fantastic net run-rate of 0.647, which is evidence of how dominant they have been. While this upcoming match is virtually a dead-rubber for them, they are still expected to come out all guns blazing, especially because they'd want to take the momentum into the knockouts.
Coincidentally, the only match that Surrey were unsuccessful to win in their run so far was against Kent Spitfires. However, it was around three weeks ago and Surrey have gained plenty of momentum since then, winning six out of six matches thereafter. Surrey have actually gained strength with every passing match and the margins of wins that they have posted in the recent matches is evidence of their dominance.
Surrey registered a solid win over Hampshire in their most recent match. While Hampshire were never being perceived favorites against Surrey, they weren't to be taken lightly as well. However, Surrey thrashed them by nine wickets with more than four overs to spare. Their bowlers and batsmen both looked flawless on a day that proved to be another stepping stone for Surrey's march towards a home quarter-final.
Reece Topley was fantastic on a surface that had some assistance for the quick bowlers as he demolished Hampshire's top-order single-handedly. Will Jacks and Dan Moriarty were equally impressive at the top for Surrey. Reece Topley, who had underperformed in the tournament up until then, happened to be the best bowler for Surrey, returning with the figures of 4 for 20 in his 4 overs. Dan Moriarty supported him well and picked up a couple of wickets to go with an excellent economy rate of 4.75.
While the return of Jason Roy didn't help Surrey much, the other batsmen ensured that Surrey do not feel the absence of Hashim Amla. With a fabulous unbeaten partnership of 118 between Will Jacks and Laurie Evans, Surrey whistled past Hampshire with significant ease.
Surrey looked a bit iffy in the earlier part of the tournament when their middle-order wasn't amongst the runs. Now, with Laurie Evans, Ben Foakes, and Rory Burns all doing well in the last few matches, there's hardly anything that Surrey would be concerned about. The only thing that can stifle Surrey is the over-confidence and with the experience they have, that shouldn't be the case either.
Rory Burns, Rikki Clarke, Matt Dunn, Laurie Evans, Will Jacks, Daniel Moriarty, Jamie Overton, LE Plunkett, Jason Roy, Jamie Smith, R Topley.
Starting their campaign with a remarkable 209-run chase against Middlesex in a match that eventually ended up with no winner, Kent have continuously asserted their dominance in the points table. They looked one of the better teams in the South Group and early qualification for the playoffs speaks a lot. Currently placed at the second spot on the ladder with 12 points to their name, the Spitfires are only a win away from the top spot. However, the win would have to be big enough for Kent to get past Surrey on net run-rate. Given that they defeated Surrey in the previous meeting between the two teams, Kent should be upbeat going into this upcoming match.
While Kent Spitfires have been brilliant in the tournament as a whole, there have been some days where Kent just played like an altogether different team. The cases of their underperformance have been recent as they have managed just two wins in their last four matches.
After an unfavorable outing against Middlesex, Kent needed a win to maintain their supremacy at the top of the table and they bounced back beautifully against Essex, the team which had not been in the best of touches in the tournament. On a good surface to bat on, Kent Spitfires were electric in the field and that was apparent by the way Sam Billings found Delport short of his crease. With excellent middle-overs bowling, Kent Spitfires pulled things back beautifully to restrict the Eagles to a total of 167. Fred Klassen bowled an inspiring spell, picking up three wickets for 36.
Considering that the surface didn't have any visible demons, chasing the total shouldn't have been difficult. However, Kent got off to a poor start, losing Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Heino Kuhn, Sam Billings, and Daniel Bell Drummond inside the first eleven overs. As Kent were staring at a defeat in a match they once had in their hands, the depth in their batting came to their rescue as Jack Leaning and Alex Blake combined with a match-winning partnership to take Spitfires home. Leaning top-scored with a 32-ball 55 as Spitfires won the match by four wickets and two balls to spare.
On paper, there is no doubt about Kent being a terrific team. They have justified their on-paper strength with some remarkable performances in the tournament and with Sam Billings back, they have actually gained in strength. They have a tough team to face up next in the tournament and if they can play to their potential, Surrey shouldn't be too tough to handle for the Spitfires.
Daniel Bell-Drummond, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Heino Kuhn, Sam Billings, Alex Blake, Jack Leaning, Grant Stewart, Matt Milnes, Imran Qayyum, Fred Klaassen.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy team lineup for the upcoming Vitality T20 Blast match between Surrey and Kent Spitfires. Don't forget to check out the latest updated team right after the toss.
Find more Dream11 predictions and other tips and tricks on our dedicated Dream11 guide.
It seldom is the case that top of the table encounters are not worth watching. This clash between the South Group toppers could be one that the fans have been longing for so long. Even though both sides have already qualified for the knockouts, we expect a thrilling contest between the two. Considering that Surrey have been in a better form of late and that they'll be playing this match at home gives them an edge over Kent Spitfires. We, therefore, expect Surrey to emerge as winners in this upcoming fixture.
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