Surrey hold their nerve to see off Spitfires - Kia Oval Skip to main content
search

South Group leaders Surrey held their nerve in a tense finish to beat Kent Spitfires by five runs in a rain-shortened Vitality Blast contest at the Kia Oval.

Surrey, put in and with an unfamiliar batting line-up, did well to reach 103 for five from 10 overs after play finally got under way two hours and 25 minutes’ late.

And then more rain, arriving just as Kent were about to start their reply, left them needing 87 from eight overs under the Duckworth/Lewis calculations.

Despite late hitting from Feroze Khushi, who made 35, and Sam Billings, who swept Reece Topley for six in a seventh over costing 20 and in which Khushi also bludgeoned a six over long on, Kent could only finish on 81 for three.

It was Surrey’s seventh win from ten games but Kent have now lost seven of their first ten group games and look to be dropping out of contention for a top four finish and a quarter-final place.

There were several decisive moments in a fast and furious affair, the first a brilliant fourth over from leg-spinner Cameron Steel in which he conceded only four runs and also bowled the dangerous Tawanda Muyeye for 22.

Muyeye hit Dan Worrall for a slashed four and a superb lofted six to long on in the second over but Jordan Clark allowed only six runs from the third over and then Steel’s fine over left Kent on 29 for two with half their innings gone.

Khushi smashed Chris Jordan over long on for six and Billings hit the Surrey captain, returning alongside Topley from England’s T20 World Cup campaign, for four over mid off to keep Kent in the hunt.

But Khushi’s dismissal from the final ball of the penultimate over, well held by Steel diving forward at long on, felt like a big momentum swing back to Surrey as it left Kent needing 17 from the last over.

Jordan began with a no ball, from which a leg bye was scampered, but new batsman Tom Rogers could only dig out a yorker from the free hit opportunity and, although he cut Jordan away for four from the next ball, he and Billings (14 not out) could not find the boundary again as Jordan’s accuracy under pressure closed out the game.

The other decisive moment in the match came right at the end of the Surrey innings when they were 94 for five with just one ball remaining to be bowled.

Up to then, and despite two offside wides, Grant Stewart looked to be succeeding in keeping Surrey’s total below 100, but he then sent down a waist-high no ball full toss which Ben Geddes swung away high for six behind square.

That brought an extra ball, from which a bye was scampered and, in all, 19 runs came from the over, which had started with Clark crunching an extra cover four before being caught at long off for seven.

There were five other sixes in Surrey’s effort, the first two pulled by Laurie Evans off pacer Nathan Gilchrist and off spinner Marcus O’Riordan. Evans, coming in after Ryan Patel had departed in the first over, skying Stewart to keeper Billings after one lovely off-driven four, made a punchy 25 before he hit O’Riordan to long off.

Dom Sibley muscled Matt Parkinson’s leg spin for six over long on in his 20, which ended to a catch at deep mid wicket off Joey Evison, while Jordan pulled the medium pacer for six and Rory Burns produced a remarkable swept maximum off Gilchrist.

Jordan mishit Gilchrist high to mid off to go for 14 and Burns finished 11 not out as he and Geddes, who was unbeaten on seven, saw Surrey to a total that proved – just – to be defendable.

Kent saw Daniel Bell-Drummond fall for a duck to the second ball of their reply, hitting Topley high to deep square leg where Ben Geddes held the catch.