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Vitality Blast T20 match results and reactions from today’s matches – 29th August

AB de Villiers 52* on his return for Middlesex

Retiring opener Michael Klinger crashed an unbeaten century to help Gloucestershire book a Vitality Blast quarter-final berth with a five-run win over Kent Spitfires.

Klinger, who is set to call time on his 21-year career at the end of the tournament, reached his eighth Twenty20 century from the final ball of Gloucestershire’s innings as the visitors posted 180 for three.

Only Chris Gayle has scored more centuries than the 39-year-old Australian in the format – with 21 – but his team were still made to sweat for victory as Faf du Plessis threatened to overhaul the target on his Spitfires debut.

The South Africa captain shared a 122-run stand with Sam Billings but both fell to Ryan Higgins, who claimed the key wickets of Alex Blake and Du Plessis from consecutive deliveries to unravel the pursuit.

While victory also almost certainly assured Gloucestershire of a home quarter-final next week it left Kent in a five-way battle to for the remaining two last-eight places, which will be decided on Friday night.

Essex Eagles and Hampshire ensured they remained amongst that group after keeping their hopes alive with victories against Surrey and Middlesex respectively.

Veteran Eagles pair Ravi Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate shared an unbroken 117-run stand to set-up a 19-run win that ended Surrey’s hopes of progressing at the Kia Oval.

Jamie Porter claimed four for 38, including Surrey’s top three, and while Jordan Clark hit 60 from 32 balls Surrey were bowled out for 167.

Hampshire skipper James Vince hit an unbeaten 66 from 55 balls at the top of the order and shared a 96-run stand with Aneurin Donald (51) to overhaul Middlesex’s 153 for five.

Victory moved Hampshire up to fifth, ahead of their final night meeting at winless Glamorgan, as they look to force their way past Kent or Somerset in the South Group’s top four.

Kent can book their progress with a win at Essex on Friday night while Somerset and Middlesex – locked on 13 points with Hampshire and Essex – face a virtual elimination match at the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton.

Yorkshire Vikings climbed off the foot of the North Group table with a comfortable 80-run win over Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Emerald Headingley.

Left-armer David Willey claimed four wickets against his former county after home openers Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Adam Lyth hit half-centuries to pave the way for Yorkshire’s 187 for seven. Willey finished with four for 18 as the Steelbacks were bowled out for 107.

Kent v Gloucestershire, South Group St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury 6:30 PM

Gloucestershire won by 5 runs

An unbeaten century by captain Michael Klinger inspired Gloucestershire to a five-run Vitality Blast win over Kent in Canterbury that guarantees the West Country county a place in the quarter finals whilst leaving Kent’s progression from the south group hanging in the balance.

The 35-year-old from Victoria plundered nine fours and four sixes in his 102 not out that helped the visitors – who have not lost a T20 game against Kent since July 2016 – post an impressive 180 for three under the lights at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.

Clearly wishing to chase a target, Kent fielded first after winning the toss and sprang an immediate surprise by opening the bowling with occasional off-spinner, Alex Blake. The ploy worked wonders as Gloucestershire garnered only two off the over.

Fred Klaassen’s first ball of the night was hooked over the ropes at long leg by Klinger, then Miles Hammond opened his boundary account with a pull to square leg as the Kentish left-armer continued to struggle.

With the powerplay complete, Blake returned for a second respectable over then, with 70 on the board, left-arm spinner Imran Qayyum made the first breakthrough by having Hammond caught on the deep cover ropes off a wristy, slash drive.

Klinger moved to his 34th short-form 50 from 35 balls with six fours and a six – it was his third in the competition against Spitfires – before Blake had James Bracey held at deep mid-wicket to complete an excellent stint of 4-0-17-1 without conceding a boundary.

Qayyum’s quick reactions accounted for Ian Cockbain, run out when backing up to Klinger’s straight drive as the bowler collected the ball, span around and whipped off the bails with Cockbain still out of his ground. Qayyum finished with one for 24.

Jack Taylor should have departed for eight only for Zak Crawley to down a simple chance at ‘cow corner’ off Daniel Bell-Drummond, whose next delivery was heaved for six by Klinger as 23 came off the over.

Taylor was handed another life on 17 when Blake downed a low chance running in from long-on, before Klinger drove the final delivery of the innings over long-off for a ninth four and a 65-ball century with four sixes. Claydon, one of Kent’s four front line bowlers, finished with nought for 45.

In pursuit of 181 at an asking rate of 9.05 an over, Kent lost openers Crawley and Bell-Drummond within 19 balls. Bell-Drummond drove on the up to cover against Andrew Tye then Chris Liddle had Zak Crawley caught off a skier at mid-wicket to make it 21 for two.

Faf du Plessis, the South Africa captain making his Kent debut, was dropped on 18 after Taylor’s howler on the square leg ropes with Tye the unlucky bowler as Spitfires mustered 51 at the end of the powerplay.    

With left-arm spin at both ends, du Plessis and third-wicket partner Sam Billings found it difficult to hit boundaries until Billings broke the shackles by heaving six over the lime tree against Graeme van Buuren.

Five balls later Billings lofted Tom Smith over extra for another maximum and, at the half-way stage Kent had matched Gloucestershire’s 81 after 10 overs, albeit for the loss of one more wicket.

Du Plessis was dropped again on 42 when Tye downed a low chance running in at long on as Kent posted their 100 in the 12th over with the asking rate at 9.75 an over.

Du Plessis reached a fortunate 35-ball 50 with his seventh four and Billings also enjoyed a let-off on 32 when Hammond parried an overhead chance for six off the luckless van Buuren.

Billings scored his first 50 of the competition from 37 balls, but five runs later he holed out in the deep off Ryan Higgins to bring the 122-run stand to an end.

Kent required 41 off the last five overs but Higgins and Tye sent down two tight overs to alter the equation to 32 from 18 balls when Heino Kuhn ran himself out chancing a second to Taylor at deep mid-wicket.

Blake marched in to smite 19 off eight balls before holing out to long off against Ryan Higgins and, when Du Plessis followed next ball in near identical fashion for 60, Kent’s victory hopes went with him. Higgins finished with respectable figures of three for 36 as Kent messed up their second home pursuit inside six days.         

THE TURNING POINT: After allowing Gloucestershire get off to a flying start, Spitfires had started to peg back the run-rate when Jack Taylor and Michael Klinger plundered 23 off the 16th and only over of the night bowled by occasional seamer Daniel Bell-Drummond.

SHOT OF THE MATCH: Michael Klinger’s audacious last-ball sliced drive over mid-off against Mitch Claydon ton to raise the Australian’s eighth career hundred in T20. 

THE UNSUNG HERO: Alex Blake, 30, started his Kent career 11 years ago as a medium-pace bowler who batted a bit. He has transformed his batting to become Kent’s dynamic T20 “finisher”, while recently adding looping off-spin that Gloucestershire’s batters struggled to get away. He took 1-14 in his first T20 bowling spell in his 116thappearance in the format.

WHAT’S NEXT: Kent Spitfires complete their south group qualifiers with the short trip to play Essex in Chelmsford on Friday (6.30pm start) while Gloucestershire head south to Hove to take on the Sussex Sharks.

Klinger said: “They needed 40-odd off the last five overs and looked ahead of the game, but I thought our bowlers did superbly. They kept things really simple and executed well and we backed them up by finally taking some catches at the end there.

“I think Ryan Higgins bowled the last four from one end and really executed his skills fantastically well and David Payne likewise. I thought AJ’s (Tye) last two overs were superb as well. The boys were superb with the effort they put in.

“If you’d asked me a week ago, I didn’t think I had that (a T20 century) in me. I didn’t start the tournament great and slowly picked up in the last couple of games. I thought it was a bit past me, so it was nice to get a ton and get us to a decent total.

“I was looking at the black scoreboard before that last ball and that had me on 91 with one ball to go, so I had no idea until everyone started to cheer and it came up on the big TV replay screen. It’s probably a good thing that I wasn’t thinking about the hundred and it just sort of happened.”   

Billings said: “Unfortunately we’ve had two tight games in a row here but just haven’t managed to get across the line. It’s funny in T20 that when you’re on a downward slope the key moments don’t go your way, but as Michael said, their bowlers executed brilliantly.

“Again, losing two wickets, the two in-batters, in two balls doesn’t help, it’s kind of moments like that that make the difference. But well played to Michael here as well, that’s what Faff or myself should have done, to go on. Scores of 75 plus, that’s what win you games of T20.

“I thought we were going really well then I obviously got out with five overs to go. That was a big turning point of course, we had to keep on being positive and if one guy gets out the other has to be there at the end to see it though, but that just wasn’t to be tonight.”                

Surrey v Essex, South Group Kennington Oval, London 6:30 PM

Essex Eagles won by 19 runs

Ravi Bopara’s 35-ball 70 not out, including four sixes, took Essex Eagles to a 20-over total of 186 for 4 and a 19-run win against Surrey at a packed Kia Oval which keeps alive their hopes of Vitality Blast quarter-final qualification.

All-rounder Bopara also took the wicket of Ben Foakes later for 9 as Surrey could only reach 167 in reply, with Jordan Clark’s T20-best 60 from 32 balls and Ollie Pope’s 35 the only real notes of defiance.

Seamer Jamie Porter, playing his first T20 game for more than a year, took 3 for 27 in three overs at the start of Surrey’s run chase – claiming the prized wickets of Aaron Finch, Sam Curran and Mark Stoneman to leave the home side up against it.

Porter then had Clark caught and bowled, from a skied heave, from the penultimate ball of the match to finish with 4 for 38. The final over had begun with Clark hitting Porter for four and six – but, with 31 runs still required when the over started, Essex were always in control.

Clark at least gave a 25,000 full house – Surrey’s fifth capacity crowd of the tournament – some late entertainment with four sixes in all, after seeing wickets tumble around him. Mohammad Amir’s 1 for 21 from his four overs was an outstanding effort for Essex.

Bopara had earlier been joined in a rollicking unbeaten fifth wicket stand of 117 in 10.4 overs by Ryan ten Doeschate, whose 55 not out came from 44 balls. It was a record for Essex’s fifth wicket against Surrey in T20 matches.

Ten Doeschate hit two sixes, mowed over mid wicket off Imran Tahir and Finch, while Bopara’s four maximums helped him first to his half-century, completed off his 29th ball, and then to give the innings a brutal finish in which he drove Jade Dernbach over the ropes at mid wicket and long on.

Gareth Batty’s off spin brought him excellent figures of 4-0-15-1 but none of the other Surrey bowlers could keep a check on Bopara and Ten Doeschate as they accelerated Essex on from 72 for 4 at the halfway point.

Tom Westley and Dan Lawrence provided most of the early impetus for Essex after Cameron Delport and Adam Wheater had fallen cheaply in the opening overs, both skying catches into the covers off Dernbach and Curran respectively.

Westley took two successive legside fours off Curran in the fifth over, while Lawrence leg-glaced the same bowler for four before off driving the first ball of the next over, bowled by seamer Clark, for a handsomely-struck six.

Lawrence, however, mishit a short ball from Clark to short third man to go for 18, leaving Ten Doeschate to open his account with a clipped four off his pads from the first ball he faced to take Essex to 48 for 3 from the initial six-over powerplay.

Westley heaved Tahir’s leg spin over mid wicket for six but was then fourth out for a 24-ball 30 in the tenth over, lobbing a top-edged reverse sweep at Batty straight into the hands of short third man.

That brought Bopara in to join Ten Doeschate, and together they changed the course of the match with a mixture of clean striking and excellent running between the wickets.

TURNING POINT: Given that two nights earlier he had smashed nine sixes in a 53-ball 102 not out against Somerset at the Oval, it could be argued that the game was settled the moment that Aaron Finch was caught at extra cover for 12 in just the second over of Surrey’s reply.

SHOT OF THE DAY: Ravi Bopara completed his fifty with a six slapped dismissively off Sam Curran to wide long on that was a near-miracle of timing.

UNSUNG HERO: Jamie Porter, in only his 16th T20 match, did with the white ball what he does so well as one of the best opening bowlers in championship cricket – take wickets up front. His spell of three for 27 in three overs left Surrey on 29 for 3 and quickly in deep trouble as they set off in search of a win target of 187.

WHAT’S NEXT: Surrey have now finished their south group campaign in a lowly eighth position, with a disappointing five wins from 14 matches, while Essex still have to play Kent Spitfires, at Chelmsford tomorrow evening, as they search for a quarter-final place.

Essex seamer Jamie Porter said: “It’s been frustrating with an injury keeping me out but it was nice to get my chance again in T20 tonight and thankfully I got among the wickets.

“When we are up against it as a team we always back ourselves and credit to the boys tonight for the way we played. All we can do is go into tomorrow night’s match and keep doing what we have done in the last few weeks and stick to our plans.”

Surrey head coach Michael Di Venuto said: “It has been a very disappointing campaign, especially in the first half of the group stage. It took us a long time to get going in this competition but it has also been quite frustrating in the last few weeks to see what we could do if we played good cricket.

“Tonight we lost wickets at the wrong times during the chase and our last five overs with the ball also cost us dearly in the end as it meant they got up to a total that proved a bit too much.”

Yorkshire v Northamptonshire, North Group Headingley, Leeds 6:30 PM

Yorkshire Vikings won by 80 runs

Yorkshire lifted themselves off bottom spot in the North Group with a landslide 80-run victory over Northamptonshire in a Vitality Blast dead rubber at Emerald Headingley, with ex-Steelback David Willey starring with four new ball wickets.  

Both sides went into their penultimate fixture of 2019 with no chance of qualifying for next week’s quarter-finals. 

The Vikings were bottom of the table with two wins from 12 games and the Steelbacks two places higher with three wins from the same number of fixtures.

But Yorkshire amassed 187 for seven thanks to fifties for openers Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Adam Lyth, who made 51 and 50 respectively, and then a breezy 38 off 16 balls from Harry Brook, who later took four catches - a joint Yorkshire record in a T20 fixture.

In reply, former Northants Blast winner Willey struck four times in his first three overs, at a cost of only 11 runs, leaving the Steelbacks 43 for five after six. And that was game over, with them later slipping to 107 all out in 18 overs. Willey finished with four for 18.

Having won the toss, Yorkshire’s innings could be split into three parts. 

They flew out of the blocks as captain Kohler-Cadmore and Lyth shared 88 of 91 for one in the first 10 overs. They then both fell the ball after reaching their fifties.

Northants dragged things back as the hosts reached the 15-over mark at 122 for three. 

Experienced left-arm spinner Graeme White (two for 18 from four) was excellent in removing Lyth and former team-mate Willey, who both offered leg-side catches.

Then, the Vikings regained their momentum as Brook, back in the side having made way following a run of low scores, found his range to help pick up 65 off the last five overs.

He mixed power with invention, pulling South African Dwaine Pretorius for six and ramping him for four next ball in the 16th over. He also smashed Rob Keogh’s off-spin for a huge straight six into the upper reaches of the new Emerald Stand.

Northants captain Josh Cobb used eight bowlers, with Keogh and Pakistani seamer Faheem Ashraf also claiming two wickets apiece.

The visitors then got off to a flying start in their chase, with Richard Levi hitting the first three balls of the innings from Lyth for four before planting the fifth ball over mid-wicket for six into the Western Terrace, the same stand Ben Stokes peppered in Sunday’s Ashes heist.

But he slapped Willey straight to mid-wicket with the first ball of the second over.

Tim Bresnan bowled Adam Rossington with the first ball of the third and Willey struck again with the first ball of the fourth when he had Cobb caught at deep backward square-leg before getting Pretorius brilliantly caught by Will Fraine running back from point later in the over (30 for four).

Alex Wakely then holed out to deep square-leg off Willey, ending a miserable power play at 43 for five, before Bresnan struck again in the sixth to get Ashraf caught at mid-on with only two runs added to the total.

South African left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj bowled Keogh early in the eleventh over as the score slipped to 68 for seven before off-spinner Jack Shutt had White and Nathan Buck caught at long-off by Brook (82 for nine in the 14th).

Tom Sole played a lone hand for 41 not out before Lyth had Blessing Muzarabani caught behind to wrap things up.

TURNING POINT: Richard Levi struck 19 off the first over of the chase, but Northants were 30-4 midway through the fourth, including three wickets for their former all-rounder David Willey.

SHOT OF THE MATCH: Harry Brook launched a huge straight six onto the top tier of the new Emerald Stand off Rob Keogh’s off-spin in the 17th over of the Yorkshire innings, with the ball ricocheting off some windows high above the sight screen.

UNSUNG HERO: Tim Bresnan was underused as a bowler in the early stages of the competition, but has found his range in recent games and proved it here with two early wickets as Northants’ top order was wrecked.

WHAT’S NEXT: With no hope of quarter-final qualification, both sides finish their Blast campaigns tomorrow. Yorkshire travel to face Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston, while Northants host Worcestershire at Wantage Road. Both are 6.30pm starts.

Yorkshire’s David Willey 

“That was very typical of the way we’ve played in the last few years. We either blow teams out of the water or lose. There’s no getting across the line in tight games. That’s where we’ve got to be better. If we get across the line in tight ones, we might have qualified.

“It’s nice for the fans who’ve come to our last home game that we’ve put on a show. But, ultimately, it’s disappointing that we’re out of the competition. It was a dead rubber after we’ve not played very well throughout.

“It’s been a while for me (wickets). I lost it a bit after I got out. I’ve been poor with the bat this year and have probably not bowled as well as I’d have liked either. So I came out more fired up than I usually am, and I seemed to get a bit out of the pitch bowling shorter than my usual length. They tried to hit to the short side and couldn’t get hold of it. I got some reward. That’s T20 cricket.” 


Northants coach David Ripley 

“We didn’t field well, we didn’t bowl well, we didn’t bat well. When that happens, you’ll struggle to make an impact on a game of cricket.

“It was a low point. We’ve had a few of them in the competition, and we haven’t played particularly well. This feels particularly disappointing.

“The good news is that it’s not our last game. If we turn around tomorrow and play better than that, we’ll offer the supporters something better than we did to anyone who made the trip here. 

“We dropped three catches. We held a couple of good ones, but dropping three catches is too many. 

“We got 19 off the first over and were out of the blocks very quickly, but four or five overs later the game was over. Losing five or six quick wickets, you’re never going to take down a score of 180 plus.

“We didn’t make Yorkshire work hard enough for their runs, either. There were too many square boundaries and too many boundaries the batsman’s not had to work hard to find. 

“We were just poor, and the players are disappointed.”

Hampshire v Middlesex, South Group Ageas Bowl, Southampton 6:30 PM

Middlesex 153-5 lost to Hampshire 155-2 by eight wickets

Aneurin Donald thrashed his first Vitality Blast fifty for Hampshire to keep their quarter-final hopes alive by beating Middlesex by eight wickets.

Donald, who joined from Glamorgan last year, had previously scored 48 and 44 in the Blast but finally reached the landmark score to club 51 off 33 balls.

He put on 96 with captain James Vince – who clocked up his fourth fifty of this season’s Blast, ending on 66 no out, to take Hampshire past the winning post with nine balls to spare.

Hampshire’s win, which came despite South African legend AB de Villiers’ fourth fifty of the Blast, sees them leap up to 13 points, level with Middlesex ahead of both sides must-win final group fixtures on Friday night.

Donald tore into the Middlesex attack from his fourth ball faced, which sailed over the fine leg ropes after a wayward delivery from Tom Helm.

The Welshman used his brute power to larrup two boundaries over the covers before relying on his technique to cut Mohammad Hafeez.

At the other end, Vince manipulated the ball and ran hard, although couldn’t resist an immaculate back-foot cover drive as the opening partnership rushed pass 50.

Donald was given a piece of luck when he was dropped by deep midwicket Nathan Sowter on 47, before a deft glance took him to his milestone in 31 balls.

The 22-year-old fell to the next ball he faced as he reversed to short third man to end a 96 stand for the first wicket – Hampshire’s highest of the Blast.

Sam Northeast arrived at the crease and was dropped on 12 before he was bowled by Steven Finn, but Vince passed his half-century in 43 balls and saw Hampshire over the line.

Earlier, Middlesex won the toss, decided to bat and reached a par 153 for five thanks to de Villiers’ hitting and a series of starts.

Paul Sterling and captain Dawid Malan put on 47 for the first wicket in a little over five overs, both striking the ball cleanly.

But departed in successive overs, the former clothing to mid-off and the latter caught on the square leg boundary after the returning Mason Crane had frustrated him with four dot balls.

Leg spinner Crane, who missed six games with a side strain, was the pick of the Hampshire bowlers and added Mohammad Hafeez to his tally lbw to end with an analysis of two for 22.

Eoin Morgan was leg before to Tabraiz Shamsi and John Simpson was caught at mid-on to give Kyle Abbott his 150th T20 wicket before de Villiers accelerated Middlesex to a decent score.

De Villiers had been tempered to reach 28 off 25 balls but back-to-back sixes over the leg side off Shamsi saw him hit his gears and a four from the final ball of the innings handed him a 34-ball half-century – the 57th of his career.

THE TURNING POINT: Middlesex looked like they had set the hosts challenging chase, but from the moment Aneurin Donald pulverised his first six the match seemed destined to belong to Hampshire.

SHOT OF THE MATCH: Donald’s second maximum sent a portion of the 10,000 strong Ageas Bowl crowd scattering on the square leg bern after he smoked his leg-side slog.

UNSUNG HERO: Mason Crane returned from his injury like he’d never been away. His figures were two for 22 but that doesn’t begin to show his control over the batsmen.

WHAT’S NEXT: Middlesex must beat Somerset at Taunton to progress to the quarter-final. Hampshire travel to basement side Glamorgan with a similar permutation. Both games start at 6.30pm on Friday/tomorrow.

Hampshire batsman Aneurin Donald:

“We are doing everything we can do to get through. It is another win ticked off and adds to the run rate, which is helpful.

“I think this is the first time we clicked across the board and when we perform like that, we will beat most teams.

“It is about peaking at the right time and hopefully we are to get through.

“It was nice to have a partnership with Vincey. When you are only chasing 150 that is half the job done.

“I nearly got out in the 40s again and I was disappointed not to see it home with Vincey but I was pleased to get back out there to score.

“We probably batted more sensibly and that was the difference on a pitch like this.

“Our spinners did a fantastic job. We have three international spinners and it is no surprise we did well through the middle overs.”

Middlesex captain Dawid Malan:

“We were happy with our score, we thought it was a good score, as after the new ball it got tough to bat on – even AB struggled initially.

“We let ourselves down in the field. We didn’t execute our plans properly and we dropped some catches which set the tone.

“You don’t mind losing to a better team on the day when they have massively outplayed you but we did what we needed to do but were sloppy. We have enough runs to defend.

“Now we have to rock up to Taunton tomorrow and win and then if we do qualify win the next three. It is that simple; win four games in a row.

“It just shows that when you have a guy who can win you games of cricket that makes the difference. AB put us in a position that we were probably struggling to get to.

“It was disappointing we missed him for those games and it is good to have him back.”

©Cricket World 2019