Frus­tra­tion for Spit­fires in home de­feat

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport -

Sam Billings cut a frus­trated fig­ure as Kent slid to a fifth NatWest T20 Blast group stage de­feat against Sus­sex. The Eng­land wick­et­keeper­bats­man was the foun­da­tion of the Spit­fires in­nings, crack­ing a su­perb 74 from 40 balls as the hosts stut­tered to a to­tal of 163-9 at the Spit­fire Ground, St Lawrence, on Friday. Dar­ren Stevens (18) was the sec­ond-high­est scorer. How­ever, the vis­i­tors eased to vic­tory with an over and five wick­ets in hand, thanks largely to opener Chris Nash for a mea­sured 73 from 58 balls. Billings said: “It was an odd game. It was an ab­so­lutely belt­ing pitch but T20 is a game of fine mar­gins. “It was a cou­ple of overs with the bat which cost us and a cou­ple of overs here and there with the ball, which was a shame. “Credit to Chris Nash who played a top-class knock – that was the wicket we des­per­ately needed through­out but we weren’t quite at it.” He added: “That’s the best pitch we’ve played on at Can­ter­bury this year with­out a doubt. That was as good as you’ll see. “There was a lit­tle bit of ex­tra bounce with the odd one but apart from that, you re­ally got value for your shots.” De­spite hav­ing lost half of their 10 games so far, Kent still have a chance of a top­four spot in the tight South Group with four games re­main­ing. Bili­ings said: “As soon as we started get­ting back into the game we seemed to let the pres­sure off which you can’t af­ford to do in T20 be­cause it’s hard to then claw it back. “You can’t af­ford to let the pres­sure off, es­pe­cially in the South Group where there’s not a single weak team. Sus­sex were in the bot­tom two but are as good a bowl­ing at­tack as you’ll face all year. “It’s frus­trat­ing. We’re still in it though if we can just piece it all to­gether – we need a big ef­fort.”

Pic­tures: Gary Browne

Sam Billings is bowled for 74 and, left, cel­e­brates reach­ing his half-cen­tury

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