Cricket: Kent spared after Surrey onslaught

PUBLISHED: 10:03 21 July 2018

Imran Qayyum in bowling action for Kent (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Imran Qayyum in bowling action for Kent (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Kent Spitfires and Surrey took a point apiece after their Vitality Blast South Group clash in Canterbury was abandoned due to heavy rain during the innings break.

And that came after Surrey had posted a mammoth 250-6, the fourth highest total in domestic T20 cricket, which left Kent, with three wins from four starts, facing a pursuit at an asking rate of 12.6 an over.

Batting first after winning the toss, which was made with a commemorative Queen Anne solid silver shilling from 1709 – the year these two clubs first met – Surrey hit a boundary from the first delivery to set the tone.

Visiting openers Rory Burns and Aaron Finch hit quickfire 50s, making hay to short boundaries and against a Kent attack hamstrung by a soapy ball and a wet outfield; the result of constant light drizzle.

Finch bludgeoned off back-foot and front at every opportunity to post a 19-ball half-century with eight fours and a brace of sixes, while Burns, standing in for the injured Jason Roy, reached his maiden 50 in the short form of the game from 27 balls.

The pair posted 87 in the six-over powerplay and had 119 on the board when Burns chased a wide, full delivery from Calum Haggett to edge through to keeper Sam Billings.

Surrey reached three figures after seven overs as Finch plundered on, with the burly Aussie having 83 to his name after 38 balls faced when he heaved across the line to be bowled by left-arm spinner Imran Qayyum to make it 144-2.

Qayyum picked up a second scalp when he pegged back Ben Foakes’ leg stump after the right-hander charged down the pitch to miss an attempted leg-side smear.

But Rikki Clarke marched in with licence to thrill and wreaked havoc, as the all-rounder joined forces with Nic Maddinson to club three sixes in an over from Qayyum but, in looking for a fourth, Clarke holed out to long on to go for 16.

Maddinson’s fun ended to the very next delivery when he too chased a wide one from Haggett to feather one through to the keeper to depart for 29.

Surrey sailed past 217, their best-ever score against Kent in the short-form game and, by the end of the 18th over had posted their best ever T20 total beating their 224-5 against Gloucestershire in Bristol in 2006.

Ollie Pope and Sam Curran continued to blaze away in the final four overs making Surrey the fourth side to post 250 or more in domestic T20 history before Pope holed out off the final delivery of the innings as Surrey added 50 in their last four overs.

Qayyum finished with career-best T20 figures of 3-40 and Haggett 2-53, but Brathwaite, one of the world’s highest paid T20 bowlers, leaked 55 from his three overs of Surrey onslaught.

And Qayyum said: “It was a shame about the rain because it ruined what might have been a great spectacle. We would have looked to have chased that down, but we can take a positive from getting a point out of the match. That point could be massive come the end of the group stages.

“Everything was in the favour of the Surrey batters. We had a short boundary on one side, the drizzle was falling all night and that meant the ball was sliding onto the bat nicely.

“Aaron Finch played a world-class knock, but we have world-class players in our side too, so I felt their score was about par for the course and we’d have hoped to chase it down.”

Finch added: “I thought that was a decent score and 250 is going to be hard for any side to chase at any stage, but we know how well Kent have played in the recent past and I think it would have been one hell of a game, but for the rain.

“We were one down with 100 on the board, so I was going after everything pretty much. I’d got off to a really good start, in fact although I got a hundred in the last game, I’d made a slower start.

“This one was nice to get away early. Of course, three figures would have been nice, but I was happy to set us up for a really decent total.”

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