Essex Eagles v Kent Spitfires | Match Preview

Captain Simon Harmer during training
Captain Simon Harmer during training
©REUTERS
 

The Essex Eagles face Kent Spitfires in the final group stage match of their Vitality Blast campaign at The Cloudfm County Ground tonight, and Simon Harmer’s side need a victory to have any chance of making it through to the knockout stages of the competition.

Although the Eagles start the game in seventh place in the table, they are one of four teams locked on 13 points and all with one match to play. The Eagles could still squeeze into the quarter-finals should results elsewhere be favourable.

Kent Spitfires are currently in third place with 14 points and with Sussex Sharks and Gloucestershire having already booked their place in the last eight, an intriguing battle is set for this evening before the remaining two teams from the South Group secure their places.

A win by 19 runs against Surrey on Thursday night kept the Eagles dreams of progression alive after unbeaten half-centuries by Ravi Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate took the side to 186-4.

Then paceman Jamie Porter took centre-stage. Making his first appearance of the summer in the short-form of the game, he whipped out dangerman Aaron Finch as well as Mark Stoneman and Sam Curran within his first two overs subsequently. He finished the match with figures of 4 for 38.

The 26-year-old reflected: “It was a great performance from everyone. Ravi and Tendo getting us to a total that we thought was well above par gave us the perfect platform and then all our bowlers were exceptional, we gave them absolutely nothing.”

And he was naturally delighted to make such an immediate impact on his return to the white-ball game, adding: “Getting the three early wickets was a tremendous boost for us and, as I say, all the bowlers did their job superbly.

“Since I’ve come back from injury, I’ve worked really hard on my skills both for red and white-ball cricket, so it was personally very satisfying to stick to my plans going into the game, get those wickets against Surrey and play a part in our win.”

Essex Eagles squad to face Kent Spitfires:

Simon Harmer (11) (Captain)
Mohammad Amir (5)
Aaron Beard (14)
Ravi Bopara (25)
Sam Cook (16)
Cameron Delport (89)
Ryan ten Doeschate (27)
Dan Lawrence (28)
Jamie Porter (44)
Shane Snater (29)
Paul Walter (22)
Tom Westley (21)
Adam Wheater (31) (Wicket-keeper)
Adam Zampa (88)