Crawley on T20 finals day
Crawley on T20 finals day

“Er, Darren Stevens? Rob Key? Really? Sorry Walkes.”

Zak Crawley can be forgiven for not remembering his own head coach top scored for Kent when they last won England’s domestic T20 tournament. He was just nine years old in 2007, and he’s been on quite the journey since.

The now-23-year-old has made his way through the Kent ranks, captained the side twice and has a handful of England appearances to his name, one of which included a staggering 267 score against Pakistan at the back end of the 2020 home season.

His journey and experiences promise to help the Spitfires when they take to the field at Edgbaston for Vitality Blast Finals Day on Saturday.

“I think the last couple of years have helped me,” said Crawley, speaking ahead of Saturday. “I have played in front of some big crowds in test cricket and in The Hundred this year too. So, I am fairly used to it by now, but I am sure I will be nervous on the day. It means a lot to do well individually and as a team.”

12 years have passed since Kent last reached Finals Day. Their appearance is long overdue.

“A lot of hard work has gone into it, not just this year but over the last couple of years, building the squad that we have got now,” Crawley added. “When you put in the hard work you want it more because you don’t want it to go to waste.

“We have a few lads from Kent, and it would mean a lot to those who grew up in the county, but all the lads want it badly so there won’t be anything short of emotions there.”

Crawley has already achieved a lot in his short career but wants more success with his home county. He has the chance to do that Saturday at Finals Day.

“What I have wanted to do with Kent is win silverware,” he insisted. “It looks like a lot of fun when you win trophies and that is the one thing we haven’t quite done yet since I have been here.

“We are not there to have a good day out, we are there to win it, win both games convincingly, and then celebrate nicely in the evening. But we aren’t taking anything for granted.

“If we lose in the semifinal it is a similar feeling to losing in the quarterfinal. It is a great day, and it will be awesome to be a part of it, but it will be extremely disappointing if we lose the semifinal.

“I will only be happy with one result on Saturday and that is a win. If we lose in the final everyone says good effort, but I won’t be at all happy with that.”

Kent will go into the day full of confidence. After the Spitfires topped the South Group in qualifying , all four southern teams won their quarterfinal matches, so Kent know they can go all the way.

They will face Sussex in the semifinal before a potential final against Somerset or Hampshire in the evening.

“I suppose we know the teams well and it is good we came top of the group,” said Crawley. “Those sides will be wary of us, and it is always a nice place to be. We won’t be taking them for granted but we have beaten them all in the last couple of years, so we know how to beat them, but it doesn’t make a difference to us. If we play well, we are good enough to win it.

“It would be nice to hit the winning runs, of course it would. But I don’t care who hits them as long as they are winning runs.

“Obviously it would be awesome to whack a boundary to win it or something, but I don’t care if it’s nicked over the ‘keepers head by the number 11; as long as we get the winning runs.”