Kent captain demands better output with bat
KENT’S batting must evolve with the shortest format of the game if they are to win the T20 cup again, said captain Rob Key.
The 2007 champions won four of their 10 Friends Life T20 games, with one washout to finish fourth in the South group.
Sussex Sharks, Hampshire Royals and Essex Eagles all progressed to the last eight.
Kent still had slim hopes of making the quarter-finals going into last week, but a thumping win against Surrey at the Kia Oval on Thursday was undone 24 hours later by a 23-run home loss to Essex.
But the Spitfires at least registered a consolation three-wicket victory over Middlesex at Uxbridge on Sunday in their final game to end on a positive note.
Skipper Key said: “We have been so hot and cold in this competition, it is a shame.
“We have got a bit to do in T20.
“There are encouraging enough signs. An inconsistent year isn’t necessarily a problem if you are putting it right in years to come.
“The game has changed since probably 2007.
“Someone will come in early and try to hit everybody for four or six from the word go.
“I think that is something we have got to find, it is just getting up to speed with modern day cricket.
“We have to start evolving with T20 cricket.”
He added: “We have done alright with the ball, I don't think we have ever hurt people with the bat.
“When we have won games, it has been with an outstanding bowling performance.
“This is something we need to look at – at the explosive starts, at the explosive players coming in.”
The Spitfires were able to take positives from the competition, where a number of younger players showed their potential.
Hartley opener Sam Billings, 21, was one of the Spitfires’ best batters.
He made his maiden T20 fifty against Essex at Chelmsford and averaged 24.
Bexley’s Adam Ball, 19, took the most wickets (12) for Kent, while 22-year-old Sam Northeast's form saw him rise to the top of the order and top the averages with 27.42.
Farnborough-born off spinner Adam Riley, coming in after James Tredwell was called up for England, took two for 15 against Surrey.
Key said: “We have probably got seven, eight, nine young players keeping Kent going and taking us further.
“This is very encouraging.
“These guys are only going to get better.”
Key was also full of praise for opening bowler Mark Davies.
The captain added: “All bar one day with Matt Prior, who smacked everyone around this year, he has played a lot of good cricket and shown Durham, who released him last year, what they have missed.
“He has been one of the most consistent performers in the T20 this year.”
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