Recent Match Report – Lancashire vs Kent Group B 2022


Kent 298 for 8 (Blake 81, Stewart 49, Stevens 49, Blatherwick 3-57) beat Lancashire 295 for 9 (Balderson 106*, Bohannon 75, Gilchrist 3-52, Podmore 3-53) by two wickets

A thrilling finish at Canterbury saw the Kent Spitfires qualify for the Royal London Cup play-offs with a two-wicket win over Lancashire, in Darren Stevens‘ white-ball swansong at the Spitfire Ground.

Kent were in deep trouble on 190 for six, but Harry Podmore hit Luke Wells’ penultimate ball for four to send Kent through to the knock-out stages, after a day of raw, unfiltered tension.

Stevens hit 49 in his final List A innings at the St. Lawrence, but he was nearly upstaged by Lancashire’s George Balderson, who played a high-risk innings and was rewarded with an unbeaten 106 from 87 balls. Josh Bohannon was the visitors’ next highest-scorer with 75 as Lancashire recovered from 95 for five to post 295-9. Nathan Gilchrist claimed three for 52 and Harry Podmore three for 53.

Alex Blake was Kent’s top scorer with 81 and his century stand with Stevens kept the Spitfires in contention before Podmore finished the job, with Kent closing on 298 for eight.

Stevens, who is still hoping to prolong his career, but who has been waylaid this season by shoulder and calf injuries at the age of 46, said: “It’s sad times, it’s my last white-ball game at Kent, but it’s good to be out there. It’s just a shame I didn’t go on and win the game like I wanted to.”

Kent now have a play-offs tie against Leicestershire – the county were it all began for him 26 years ago. “You couldn’t have written it could you? It’s a different challenge, a different place to play. We haven’t played white ball cricket there for a long time. We’ll do our work over the next couple of days to figure out how we’re going to play it.”

The hosts needed to win to stand any chance of reaching the quarter-finals, while hoping Yorkshire lost to Hampshire. Lancashire, having already qualified, were trying to overhaul Hampshire at the top of the Group B table.

Kent chose to field first and Grant Stewart made an early breakthrough when he had Luke Wells caught behind for a duck in the third over.
Gilchrist then bowled Keaton Jennings for 17 and had Steven Croft lbw for nought, but Bohannon and Dane Vilas put on 51 for the next wicket before Podmore removed the latter for 22 after a brilliant diving catch by Hamid Qadri at square leg.

When Rob Jones charged at Qadri he was stumped by Ollie Robinson for nine, but Bohannon and Balderson rebuilt the innings as conditions improved.

Their stand of 101 was ended when Bohannon skied Qadri to Gilchrist but George Lavelle maintained the momentum with 24 from 13 balls before he spooned Podmore to Alex Blake.

Podmore then removed Danny Lamb, caught behind for eight, but Balderson reached three figures when he hooked Stewart for four in the penultimate over.

Although Gilchrist subsequently bowled Tom Bailey for nine it was still Lancashire’s highest List A score against Kent and when Jack Blatherwick took two wickets in three balls the target looked a long way off.

Ben Compton went for three in the third over of the chase when Lamb took a juggling catch at first slip off and Ollie Robinson lasted just two balls before Blatherwick had him caught behind for a duck.

Joe Denly produced a couple of elegant fours but was lbw to Bailey for 13, before the same bowler had Joey Evison caught and bowled for 20. At 53 for four the stage was set for Stevens and with Alex Blake he hauled Kent back into contention as they put on 105 for the next wicket.

Back in the year 2000 Stevens had played for Leicestershire against a Kent side that included Wells’ father Alan and he hit successive Wells Junior
deliveries for six before falling just short of his half-century, caught and bowled by Croft. He departed to a standing ovation and kissed his helmet before entering the pavilion.

Blake then chipped Wells to Jennings, but Harry Finch and Grant Stewart hit back with a 73-run partnership.

When Stewart hit Balderson for successive sixes Kent looked favourites, but he fell for 49, caught by Croft off Blatherwick, just as news filtered through that Yorkshire had lost.

Podmore joined Finch and whittled away at the target, with every run cheered by the crowd of 2,101, to leave Kent needing three from the final over, but Finch hit Wells first delivery to Vilas.

The next two were dots and Wells missed a difficult return catch as Qadri scrambled a single from the fourth, leaving Podmore to drive the winning boundary through the covers. Kent now have a quarter-final trip to Stevens’ home county Leicestershire.


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