Kent Spitfires vs Essex Eagles Preview
Kent Spitfires vs Essex Eagles Preview

Kent Spitfires will take on Essex Eagles in the latest ‘Battle of the Bridge’ encounter on Friday, knowing that a win would see them qualify for the T20 Blast quarter-finals.

The Spitfires need just two points from their last two games to confirm qualification, but have an inform Essex team and an already qualified Surrey outfit standing in their way.

After collecting three wins, a tie and a no result from their first five games, Kent have lost two and won one of their last three, so are in indifferent form. A two-run loss to Middlesex on Wednesday left them still needing points to guarantee qualification, but their fate is in their own hands.

Captain Sam Billings returns to the Kent squad from England duty and is in fine form after scoring a century and a 50 during his country’s recent ODI series against Australia. He will lead the side for the first time in the competition, taking over from opening batsman and the side’s leading run scorer Daniel Bell-Drummond.

Tom Groenewald has also been named in the Kent squad following illness. The seamer has three wickets from three games so far in the tournament at an average of 22.75 – by far the best record of any of the Kent bowlers. He will provide a much needed boost to a bowling attack that has struggled of late, though Fred Klaassen has now passed 10 wickets in the tournament.

In the reverse fixture, Kent thrashed Essex live on Sky. Thanks largely to Daniel Bell-Drummond’s 89 and Alex Blake’s unbeaten 50, Kent set Essex 193 to win, a target the Eagles fell 30 runs short of.

Essex can no longer qualify for the quarterfinals, but they have won their last two games – against Sussex and Hampshire – so are in good form.

Ryan ten Doeschate has lead the way for the Eagles with the bat this year with 203 runs from seven innings, whilst Matt Quinn has picked up nine wickets at 19.66.

Supporters will not be able to watch the game in the ground, but it can be viewed via live stream on Kent’s official website or via their YouTube channel.

Kent Spitfires squad to face Essex Eagles: Sam Billings (C), Daniel Bell-Drummond, Alex Blake, Jordan Cox, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Tim Groenewald, Calum Haggett, Fred Klaassen, Heino Kuhn, Jack Leaning, Matt Milnes, Marcus O’Riordan, Imran Qayyum, Grant Stewart.

Essex Eagles squad to face Kent Spitfires: Simon Harmer (C), Ben Allison, Varun Chopra, Sam Cook, Cameron Delport, Dan Lawrence, Aron Nijjar, Michael Pepper, Jack Plom, Matt Quinn, Shane Snater, Ryan ten Doeschate, Paul Walter, Tom Westley.