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Blake stays upbeat on Kent's T20 chances after Surrey win
TWO young guns raised in the News Shopper area combined to keep Kent’s T20 quarter-final dreams just-about alive in a pounding win against Surrey Lions last night.
Farnborough-born Alex Blake won man of the match for a 28-ball 35, which lifted the Kent Spitfires to a defendable first innings total of 136-8 after 20 overs.
Former Beths Grammar School pupil Adam Riley, 20, from Sidcup, starred with the ball - taking two wickets for just 15 runs in four overs - as the Spitfires bowled the Lions out for 88 to win by 48 runs.
Blake, 23, said: “It is always nice to get one over on Surrey.
“Coming to The Oval with a good atmosphere, in a floodlit game, it was good to get the win.”
Put in to bat in front of a 13,500-strong crowd on a fine evening at the Kia Oval, Kent got off to a strong start with skipper Rob Key, from Beckenham, making 35 from 31 balls.
But wickets fell regularly as the Spitfires misfired in the middle overs against a strong bowling line-up including England seamer Chris Tremlett, Aussie paceman Dirk Nannes and Indian spinner Murali Kartik.
However, the visitors were boosted by Blake, who played some sublime, wristy hockey-style reverse sweeps in his 35.
He said: “Surprisingly, I felt good in the middle.
“It was a wicket that wasn’t that suited to batting, with a bit of turn, but happily I got my cross-batted shots in against spin and I managed to get myself in and contribute.”
Kent, missing James Tredwell to England, made immediate inroads in the second innings.
Mark Davies, the pick of Kent’s T20 bowlers this season, combined with Azhar Mahmood to knock Surrey back to 18-4 after 3.1 overs, including the wickets of England batsmen Kevin Pietersen and Steven Davies.
From there, Surrey never kept with the rate.
It was seven overs before the next wicket fell, but from there the end was quick as the Lions capitulated for 88, their lowest all-out T20 total.
Blake said: “I thought we were probably 15 or 20 short at halfway, but the bowlers did a great job at the top.
“We took early wickets and from there we were ahead of the rate.”
Kent need to win their last two games – at home to Essex tonight and away to Middlesex on Sunday – and require other results to go their way in order to qualify as one of the best third-placed teams in the three regional divisions.
Blake added: “I think it is a slim hope. Sussex are doing well at the top.
“Hampshire are up there as well. We’ll try and sneak a third spot, but I think it is quite unlikely.
“We just need to win our last two really.”
Follow Jim’s live updates from tonight’s Essex game on Twitter @JimNewsShopper.