Kent vs Warwickshire, 4th Quarter-Final, Vitality Blast: Spitfires through to Finals Day with convincing win over Bears
Kent Spitfires booked their place at the Vitality Blast Finals Day with a 21-run win over Birmingham Bears in front of a raucous crowd at Canterbury, snapping a streak of three quarter-final defeats in the previous six seasons.
Kent Spitfires 162 - 7 (20 ov)
Birmingham Bears 141 -10 (20 Ov)
Result - Kent Spitfires won by 21 runs
Matt Milnes took four for 24, Jack Leaning two for seven and Qais Ahmad two for 13, as the Spitfires smothered the Bears, who finished on 141 all out, chasing Kent’s 162 for seven. Jacob Lintott was their top scorer with a gutsy 41, after the top order collapsed.
Sam Billings earlier hit 56 and Daniel Bell-Drummond 53 for Kent. Tim Bresnan took four for 26, with Chris Woakes claiming one for 37 on his return from injury.
Kent were put in and lost Zak Crawley for just four when he lofted Woakes to Adam Hose in the second over.
Denly was deceived by Bresnan’s slower ball and caught by Lintott for 11 but Bell-Drummond and Billings rebuilt the innings with a stand of 50, the former smashing Danny Briggs for successive sixes, before he suffered a freak dismissal when Billings’ drive crashed into his stumps and ricocheted to Lintott, who ran him out.
Leaning was caught and bowled by Craig Miles for seven and Alex Blake holed out to Bresnan and was caught by Chris Benjamin for eight. Woakes’ last over, the 19th, went for 16, but Bresnan took wickets from successive balls, getting Billings caught on the boundary, before Sam Hain took a juggling catch to remove Jordan Cox for nine.
Adam Milne hit the hat-trick ball for six and finished on eight not out, but the target looked low until Birmingham lurched to 55 for six in reply.
Hose was stumped off Denly by Billings for eight and Benjamin was caught and bowled by Matt Milnes for 11. Ahmad bowled Rob Yates’ off stump for 19 and Leaning trapped Hain lbw for five before bowling Will Rhodes with a full toss for three. Michael Burgess swiped Ahmad to Crawley for six and Woakes made 14 before he skied Milnes to Blake.
Although Lintott and Bresnan went down swinging, Milne bowled the former, leaving the Bears needing 25 from Milnes’ final over. Cox took a superb catch to get rid of Bresnan for 24, stepping over the rope and back in again, before Miles skied the final delivery to Blake.
Kent’s Sam Billings said: “It means everything, it’s always been our hurdle to get over. I think this is our fourth quarter-final (in seven years). Blakes has just said to me I’ve never been to a finals day, and neither have I. It’s one of the best days in the calendar. We know that as a side we’re very hard to beat and what’s exciting is that we know as a side we’re hard to beat, but tonight we haven’t even played our best. I think the wicket did us all at the toss, you looked at it and thought yeah, 200 plays 200 and it could be a really tough night for the bowlers.
“Bell-Drummond's was perhaps the most unlucky dismissal ever and I thought when that happened don’t be another one of these nights, so I thought it’s down to me. I really took it upon myself at that point and got some runs on the board.
“I haven’t been around as much as I would have liked due to England stuff and getting COVID. I was injured a couple of years ago so it’s been a pretty weird couple of years. To be back here playing cricket with this team it means (so much). I’ve been at the club since I was eight. People don’t think I care, I think they’re deluded to be honest."
Birmingham’s Will Rhodes said: “When you come to a place like Kent, where they’re so good at home, you need to be on your A-game and make sure they have a day off. Unfortunately they didn’t, they outplayed us and fully deserved the win. We felt very confident, 160 on that wicket with a bit of dew was chaseable, but we lost too may wickets in those first ten overs. We saw how Bresnan and Lintott played at the end, they struck it pretty cleanly. I think if we’d had wickets in hand it would have been a different story, but that’s the game.”
Kent Spitfires - Zak Crawley, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Joe Denly, Sam Billings(c)(wk), Jack Leaning, Jordan Cox, Alex Blake, Adam Milne, Qais Ahmad, Matthew Milnes, Fredrick Klaassen
Birmingham Bears - Adam Hose, Rob Yates, Chris Benjamin, Sam Hain, Will Rhodes(c) , Chris Woakes, Tim Bresnan, Michael Burgess(wk), Craig Miles, Danny Briggs, Jake Lintott
Start Time: 19:00
Toss: Birmingham Bears won the toss and decided to field
Venue: The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury
Officials: Michael Burns, Russell Warren, Ian Gould, Stephen Davis
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