Essex Eagles v Kent Spitfires
The Cloudfm County Ground
Friday 25 June
Essex Eagles have the opportunity of avenging a recent comprehensive defeat by Kent Spitfires when the two teams clash in the next chapter in the Battle of the Bridge.
In the Vitality Blast fixture at Canterbury last Sunday, the Spitfires took the honours with a 67 run victory, the winning margin underlining their all-round superiority on the day. Now back under the lights at The Cloudfm County Ground, the Eagles will be on a mission to turn the tables on their old adversaries.
Since that meeting at the St.Lawrence Ground six days ago, the Eagles have beaten both Surrey and Middlesex to move into fifth place in the South Group with 7 points from their 8 matches so far in the competition.
The Spitfires meanwhile boast 10 points from 7 matches and sit in second place in the group on run-rate behind Gloucestershire who have played a game more.
When Dan Lawrence posted 59 against Middlesex on Thursday having combined with Jimmy Neesham in a partnership worth 57, the Eagles were on the cusp of victory requiring a further 14 runs with 7 wickets and 12 balls remaining.
But then 5 wickets went down in 10 balls for 9 runs including those of Lawrence and Neesham before skipper Simon Harmer struck a boundary off the final delivery to see the Eagles across the line.
Lawrence said: “It was a pretty nerve-wracking final over, I guess it wouldn’t be an Essex game if it didn’t go down to the final over.
“Harmy (Simon Harmer) writes his own scripts. I always have a weird feeling that when he’s in the game, something seems to happen. It was obviously a little bit fortuitous, but we’ll certainly take it and it’s a couple of more points in the bag.
“I think their score was about par and our bowlers bowled better than their figures suggested. There was a very short boundary, so we were comfortable chasing 180-200.
“But things can happen very quickly in T20 and the game can get away from you in a few balls. I was gutted not to take us over the line because that was the aim but it was still nice to contribute to a match-winning total.
“Kent will be a tough challenge, we’ve got a bit of a score to settle with them because they beat us quite comfortably in the last game. It’s really important that we get on a roll and knowing Essex and the way we work, we know that once we get on a run and start winning games. we can become very tough to beat.”
The Eagles have named an unchanged 14-man squad for the fixture with Kent Spitfires.
Coach: Matt Walker
Captain: Daniel Bell-Drummond
Last Year’s Performance: Quarter-finalists
2020 Leading Runscorer: Daniel Bell-Drummond (423 @ 42.3)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Fred Klaassen (13 @ 28.76)
Overseas players: Qais Ahmed
Key Man: Fred Klaassen
English-born Dutch international Fred Klaassen has been amongst the wickets this year in T20 cricket. The left arm medium-fast bowler has 9 victims thus far @ 16.55 and an economy rate of 7.84.
Flies under the radar: Jack Leaning
The third-highest scorer last time out, he took 4/16 in a second XI warm-up against the Eagles and after a tough start seems to be improving with every week.
The switch to the white-ball will come as a relief for a side bottom of their LV= Insurance County Championship group, despite Walker’s pre-season statement that this was the most excited he’d been about a group of players for a long time.
The 45-year-old Darren Stevens hasn’t played T20 for two years, but brings the kind of experience that might just see the Spitfires over the line, having hit the winning runs when Kent Spitfires won the tournament in 2007 – the last time they lifted the trophy.
The teams met at The Oval in this fixture last year, despite the match being billed as a home match for the Eagles.
The match was covered by Sky Sports as part of a double-header initiative but the change of home venue proved not to the Eagles liking as they were beaten by 29 runs.
Daniel Bell-Drummond made 81 whilst Adam Blake contributed an unbeaten 52 as the Spitfires posted 192-6 which proved too demanding for their opponents.
Openers Varun Chopra and Cameron Delport launched the reply with a partnership of 41 in 4 overs before being parted. Chopra made 41 and Delport 28 but the middle-order apart from Ryan ten Doeschate was squeezed by the Kent bowlers.
Tendo hit 42 from 24 balls and figured in a stand of 39 with Adam Wheater but the Spitfires attack retained their discipline to see their side to a comfortable victory.
The last meeting of the teams in the competition at Chelmsford provided a success for the Eagles who ended their 20 overs on 189-6 thanks to 64 by Cameron Delport and 47 by Ravi Bopara.
The visitors were dismissed for 179, with the last wicket falling to the final delivery of their 20 overs allocation.
Zak Crawley struck 89 and Jamie Porter was the pick of the Eagles bowlers with 3/28, supported by Mohammad Amir, Adam Zampa and Bopara who shared 6 wickets.
In 35 matches so far in the competition, the Eagles have won 15 matches, Kent Spitfires 19 and there has been 1 no result.
How To Watch:
There will be a Live Stream service from The Cloudfm County Ground, which will be broadcasting ahead of play from 6:30pm via the Essex Cricket Matchzone.
Access via the Essex Cricket Matchzone is available here.