BLAST CAMPAIGN WILL GO TO THE WIRE
Matt Walker says Kent’s NatWest T20 Blast campaign isn’t yet in make-or-break territory but they do need to start shifting the balance of momentum to reach the knock-out stages.
Sunday’s dramatic tie with Sussex Sharks at Hove came on the back of successive defeats against Gloucestershire and Middlesex, a run that has left the Spitfires in the bottom three of the South Group.
However, only four points separate the seven clubs tucked behind joint pacesetters Surrey and Glamorgan, and head coach Walker says the three games Kent face in the next week could be pivotal.
Sam Northeast’s men take on Somerset at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence tonight (Thursday, 7pm) and then host Glamorgan at Canterbury on Sunday (3pm) before Tuesday’s day-night contest with Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl (7pm).
Walker said: “It’s really tight, which shows the competitiveness and the strength of this group.
“Everyone’s been beating each other and there’s not a side you look at and think ‘yeah we’ll win this game hands down.’
“Every team has great qualities in their own different ways and it makes for an exciting campaign, one which will probably go right down to the wire.”
Walker admitted that the tie at Sussex felt like a win and says the squad remain ‘really confident’ despite a sequence which has produced just one win in the five matches since the opening-game success over Essex.
He added: “We know what we’ve got in terms of ability and skill and when you put it on paper it’s a strong outfit but you’ve got to turn up and play well game in game out to get through this division.
“Every point is going to be crucial but if you can get a bit of momentum, get on a bit of a run, it’s amazing how that changes things.
“All of a sudden you get two, three wins in a row and you’re right up there.
“If you don’t get a couple of wins, you’re lurking down at the bottom so you want to be that team that everybody else is chasing.”
He added: “When you get into that rhythm of winning games it’s amazing how infectious it becomes.
“I’m not saying the next three games are absolutely make-orbreak, because the way the league’s shaped they’re probably not but we want to put ourselves into a position of control where we’re towards the top of the division and not looking over our shoulders.
“We don’t want to be worrying about ‘We have to win these next three games or we’re out’ like last year so it would be nice to be able to get that momentum going and give ourselves a chance, to have our fate in our hands rather than having to play catch up.”
Kiwi paceman Adam Milne is still receiving treatment for a thigh strain but the county are hopeful he will be fit to play some part this week.
Walker said: “We’re much more hopeful now, he’s been working hard with the physio. It’s been slightly slow progess but he’s getting there. He was a little way off on Sunday but he’s definitely improving.”