Walker disappointed with performance
Walker disappointed with performance

Kent Spitfires head coach Matt Walker admitted his side “were off it” after they were beaten by Middlesex in their latest T20 Blast fixture.

The Spitfires were poor with the ball as Middlesex posted 184/6, and they never really got going with the bat. Daniel Bell-Drummond (89) and Jordan Cox (39 not out) gave them hope going into the last over, but Middlesex won the tie by two runs to leave it all to play for in the south group.

“It is hard to dissect that one” admitted Walker after the game.

“Overall, we were off it. It was a great start in the powerplay – those first two overs set us up pretty nicely, then we finished poorly. They got away from us a little bit – I did not think we got it quite right on that wicket with the ball, we probably just overthought it a little bit rather than keeping it more simple; we overtried a few things and fell into the trap of not sticking to a plan.

“The run chase did not start very well, and we were way off it for the most part. To get to needing nine off the last over in the end gave us a chance to win the game – you would back yourself with two guys in at the crease – but that is the game.”

Kent’s form has been a little bit inconsistent of late. After not tasting defeat in their first five games, the team have lost two and won one of their last three.

One more win and 12 points would see the Spitfires through to the quarterfinals, but they face an inform Essex team and an already qualified Surrey in their final two group games.

“It has been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster really” admitted Walker. “It is disappointing. It is horrible when you are not really in it, then you are, then you look like you are going to win and then you get pipped to the post.

“A positive is that we gave ourselves a chance and we got ourselves into a winning position, but we were not able to get over the line, which is hugely frustrating.

“There are lots of areas where we could have been better. Every bowler bar Imran (Qayyum) will feel they could have done better – we did not make it hard enough for them to score; it was given on a plate to them too often.

“With the bat we never got going. We did not have a powerplay, we were short of where we usually are, but I suppose in some ways it was good to see a fightback and a run chase that we nearly achieved in a tough situation. Coxy (Jordan Cox) played brilliantly at the back end there, and Deebz (Daniel Bell-Drummond) was outstanding, it was just a shame he could not finish it off.”

Walker also paid tribute to Cox, who finished not out on 39 from 21 balls after a tough tournament beforehand.

He said: “It is difficult in T20 sometimes. Where he has been batting, you do not always get an opportunity, it tends to be a few balls at the end of an innings, and he has not really got himself going in this competition. But he had a bit more time this time around and we saw the qualities of a young man who has a lot of ability.

“The decision to play him over Ollie Robinson was a tough one but we know what Jordan can do and he nearly won us a game of cricket. At 19 it is a big ask to come in needing 12/13 an over, but he played brilliantly and played some brilliant shots.

“It was a real shame he could not get us over the line, but he will be better off from that innings for sure and it will give him a lot of confidence.”

Kent will face Essex in a crunch tie at The Spitfire Ground St. Lawrence on Friday.