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Spitfires end T20 campaign with defeat
Spitfires end T20 campaign with defeat

Glamorgan thrashed the Kent Spitfires by 35 runs in their final Vitality Blast game of the season at Canterbury. 

The death overs proved fatal for Kent, as an unbeaten stand of 95 between Dan Douthwaite and Billy Root turned the game on its head, steering Glamorgan to 190 for five. The visitors had been 95 for five in the 14th over, but Douthwaite smashed 51 not out in and Root ended unbeaten on 38. 

Qais Ahmad took two for 36, but dropped catches and indifferent bowling that gifted the visitors 20 extras meant the total was at least 30 runs higher than it could have been. 

James McIlroy then took three for 31 as the Spitfires were bowled out for 155, Darren Stevens the top scorer with 34. The defeat means the reigning champions finish bottom of the South Group just a year after winning the competition. 

A crowd of around 3000 witnessed the dead rubber at the St Lawrence, with Glamorgan unable to finish higher than sixth and Kent looking to avoid matching their worst ever Blast season, when they won just three matches in 2013. 

The visitors chose to bat and were 46 without loss at the end of the powerplay, but lost Tom Bevan for 21, lbw to Qais Ahmad attempting to reverse sweep, before Matt Milnes bowled Sam Northeast for 33.  

Qais switched to the Nackington Road End and immediately bowled Chris Cooke for one and Colin Ingram was out for 26 when Grant Stewart sent his off stump flying. 

Jack Leaning then had Eddie Byrom caught by George Linde at backward point for a second ball duck but Qais’s final over, the 16th, was expensive, going for 16, including a reverse swept six by Root. 

The indifferent fielding that has dogged Kent throughout their Blast defence continued with two drops in Milnes’ 17th over. Root skied one to Tawanda Muyeye, who seemed blinded by the late evening sun, before Douthwaite was spilled by an inrushing Leaning.  

The 19th over had a whiff of Stuart Broad’s record-breaking calamity at Edgbaston the previous day. Root hit Milnes’ first ball for six and was then caught by Muyeye off a no-ball. A further no ball and five wides saw the Welsh side cash in with 22 from the over. 

Fred Klaassen’s final over was nearly as gruesome, going for 19 and Kent’s chase got off to an equally dismal start when Joe Denly was run out by Root in the first over. 

Muyeye cracked three elegant boundaries but then swiped Jamie McIlroy to Byrom and was out for 13, before Jordan Cox fell for one, pulling James Weighell to Ingram at mid-wicket. 

Alex Blake hit his 100th Blast six when he hammered Douthwaite over cow corner, but when Leaning chipped a return catch to Salter for 10 Kent, were 46 for four. 

Stevens’ return after a lengthy injury lay-off produced the biggest cheer of the night but this was a rescue act beyond even him, although he did flick Prem Sisodiya for a six that nearly cleared the flats on the Old Dover Road side. 

Blake went down swinging for 32, skying a Salter delivery to Northeast and Stevens’ cameo ended when he hit a Douthwaite full toss to Bevan on the boundary. 

Grant Stewart offered some fight 23 from 10 before he hit Sisodiya to Bevan and Qais had his stumps splayed by McIlroy for four. McIlroy then had Linde caught by Root for 21 and Glamorgan’s victory was sealed when Milnes hit Douthwaite to long off and Bevan held his third catch of the innings.  

Glamorgan’s Matthew Maynard: “”It was a nice way to end the campaign, but we’re all disappointed in there that we haven’t managed to qualify. There were one or two games when we couldn’t get it over the line and that ultimately is the game of T20 cricket, you know? To come here against the champions, the way Dan Douthwaite and Billy Root batted was superb and it gave us a platform to put such a good total on the board on a slowish wicket. 

“We’re very pleased to end this way but the guys are gutted we’re not going to be making Finals Day either. 

“It just shows that if you get a partnership that goes deeper, rather than 30 or 40, if you’re getting 70 or 80 it’s amazing how the runs come. We saw that last night and we saw it tonight as well, it’s just the way it is. They were ahead, way ahead after 15 overs, but the way we finished there was terrific.” 

Kent’s coach Matthew Walker said: “We finished how we started really and a lot in between. It’s pretty obvious where we lost this game. We were brilliant up to 13 and a half overs, I thought we were outstanding with the ball and were really back to our best, especially our seamers. I thought we bowled really well and I think 150 was about right, but those last seven overs cost us 100 runs and some of it was our own doing. Some of it wasn’t but there were missed opportunities and missed catches, which is never a good thing when you’re trying to squeeze a side. 

“We were really only a couple of wickets away from getting into their tail. We gave them an opportunity to make us pay and they did. When you lose three wickets in the powerplay it’s very difficult to wrestle it back from that situation. There was a bit of huff and puff and some decent cameos, but nothing of substance, which you need when you’re chasing 190. 

“We had to gamble a bit and people had to chase down 12, 13 and over and we came well shot. We’re extremely disappointed with how today went and how the whole campaign went. It’s not what I’d hoped for and not what I’d expect. We know this division’s very difficult, we know you’ve got to play really good cricket to get through the qualifying stages and if you miss out having played good cricket you accept that, but I don’t think we’ve really played our best cricket. On a few occasions we did against some good sides, but overall we’ve got a lot to talk about and a lot to think about.”