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Match Report

Sharks vs Spitfires: Match report

20 Jun 2023

Jordan Cox led Kent Spitfires to their fourth Vitality Blast win in a row as they beat Sussex Sharks by six wickets at The 1st Central County Ground in Hove.

Cox hit an unbeaten 82 off just 44 deliveries, with six fours and five sixes.  And he was well supported at the end by Jack Leaning, who made an unbeaten 28 from 26 balls.  The Spitfires needed 12 runs from the final two overs but Cox saw his side home with eight balls to spare.

Both the Sharks and the Spitfires had to win this match to sustain their ambitions in the Vitality Blast and both sides had shown some encouraging form in recent weeks after generally disappointing campaigns.

The Spitfires, chasing 170, got off to a good start with 25 from the first two overs but then Karvelas came on to bowl the third, bowling Tawanda Muyeye with his first delivery and then having Joe Denly caught behind with his fourth ball.

When Tymal Mills came on to bowl the fourth over he had the Spitfires captain Sam Billings caught behind for just two and suddenly Kent were on the back foot at 28 for three.

But Cox put the Spitfires on top once more with a fourth wicket stand of 70 in seven overs with Daniel Bell-Drummond (38).  The pair looked in total control before, in the 11th over, Bell-Drummond attempted to work Ravi Bopara to fine leg and got a top edge. 

Cox, though, carried on, reaching his half-century from 31 balls with five fours and a six.  He then celebrated the landmark by hoisting Brad Currie over square-leg for six, before reverse scooping George Garton over third man for another maximum before his final flurry of strokeplay against Karvelas.

The Sharks had been guided to a total of 169 for seven by their captain, Bopara, who hit a typically fluent 53 from 39 deliveries, with four fours and two sixes. 

They must have hoped for more after reaching the end of the 15th with a score of 133 for three. 

But they were frustrated at the end of their innings by some fine death bowling from Michael Hogan and Wes Agar, who had come into the side for Kane Richardson, who had a side strain.

Harrison Ward had got the Sharks off to a fine start, crashing 44 runs from the first five overs.  But from the last ball of the fifth over the in-form Harrison Ward, who is often overlooked for these matches, was caught on the square-leg boundary off  Hogan for a 21-ball 32.

Tom Clark again made a good start without progressing, and Ollie Carter looked in the mood after lifting Grant Stewart onto the pavilion roof for six.  When he was out, well caught by Cox at extra cover, the best chance of a big total rested with the experienced pair of Bopara and Tom Alsop. 

They added 43 in four overs but then Alsop was caught at long-on by Bell-Drummond off Fred Klaassen and even Bopara was unable to give the innings a gloss finish against some tight bowling and fielding from the Spitfires.

Report provided by ECB Reporter's Network 

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