ABOUT THE MATCH
In their bid to move one step closer to the quarter-finals, Kent Spitfires and Gloucestershire will lock horns in this South Group fixture of the Vitality T20 Blast 2019. The match will be played on August 29 at the St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury.
Gloucestershire and Kent currently have 14 points in their kitty and a couple more points here will really bolster their chances of qualifying for the knockout round.
While the former is coming on the back of a convincing 25-run victory over Somerset at Bristol, the latter suffered defeat in their previous match against Surrey at Canterbury by the narrowest of margins – 1 run.
Gloucestershire, after putting up a challenging 189 on the board, bowled Somerset out for 164. Kent was given a stiff target of 172 by Surrey and they came so close at the finishing at 170/3 in their 20 overs.
The toss-winning team has batted first and gone on to win in each of the three completed matches that have been played at this ground so far this season. The pitch has seemed to become a tad slower during the second half of every game and so the team that wins the toss here on Thursday is likely to go with the trend of batting first.
PITCH AND CONDITION
It is likely to be cool and clear weather on Thursday evening with a gentle breeze blowing across the ground. Temperatures are expected to be in the range of 15-19 degrees Celsius. Humidity should be around 61-81% and the chances of precipitation are very low.
The St. Lawrence Ground has hosted three completed matches so far in this year’s Vitality Blast and has seen scores of 150+ on five occasions (thrice by the side batting first and twice by the side batting second). This goes to show how good the wicket has been for batting and a similar surface is expected to be prepared for this game.
PROBABLE PLAYING XI OF Kent
Daniel Bell-Drummond, Zak Crawley, Faf du Plessis, Alex Blake, Sam Billings (c), Oliver Robinson (wk), Marcus O’Riordan, Hardus Viljoen, Matt Milnes, Imran Qayyum, Fred Klaassen
PROBABLE PLAYING XI OF Gloucestershire
Miles Hammond, Michael Klinger (c), James Bracey (wk), Jack Taylor, Ryan Higgins, Ian Cockbain, Graeme van Buuren, Tom Smith, Andrew Tye, Chris Liddle, David Payne
- Kent Spitfires have roped in batsman Faf du Plessis for the remainder of the Vitality T20 Blast 2019.
- The South African skipper will be available for selection for Thursday’s match against Gloucestershire and could replace fellow countryman Heino Kuhn at the top of the batting order.
- In the previous match against Surrey, Kent made three changes to their side – they replaced Mohammad Nabi, Adam Milne, Mitchell Claydon with Marcus O’Riordan, Matt Milnes and Imran Qayyum.
- Daniel Bell-Drummond and Zak Crawley will continue to open the batting while Fred Klaassen and Matt Milnes are likely to lead the team’s bowling attack again.
- Kent Spitfires have played twelve matches so far in this year’s T20 Blast out of which they have won six and lost four with the remaining two having ended in no results.
- They are currently positioned third on the South Group points table with 14 points and need a couple more points to strengthen their case for a place in the quarter-finals.
- After their four-wicket win over Hampshire at Beckenham, Kent suffered back-to-back losses – against Gloucestershire and Somerset – before their next two fixtures got washed out.
- Their previous encounter came against Surrey last week which they lost by one run.
- Gloucestershire made the just the one change to their side last time out against Somerset, dropping all-rounder Zak Chappell for another all-rounder Graeme van Buuren.
- The latter had a good outing with the ball in that game and he could be retained in the eleven for this upcoming encounter against Kent Spitfires.
- Michael Klinger, who played probably his final innings at the Bristol County Ground last time, will open the batting alongside Miles Hammond with wicketkeeper James Bracey slotted at number three.
- David Payne and Andrew Tye are likely to be Gloucestershire’s new-ball bowlers.
- Gloucestershire is currently second in the South Group standings with five wins, a tie, three losses and as many washouts from twelve league matches.
- They have been performing very well of late and are coming on the back of four wins in their last five completed fixtures.
- They played their previous match against Somerset last week at Bristol where they registered a comfortable 25-run victory.
- Prior to that, Gloucestershire secured a seven-wicket win over Hampshire before sharing points with Somerset in their next encounter which got abandoned due to rain.
PROBABLE WINNING TEAM:
Kent and Gloucestershire have both looked impressive this season and both are strong contenders for a top-four finish at the end of the group stage. The latter clearly have the upper hand when it comes to the recent head-to-head record, having beaten the former in their last five attempts straight. Apart from that, they are coming into this game with the psychological advantage of having secured a convincing victory in the reverse encounter at Bristol earlier this month.
Kent, however, have the home advantage on their side and having won six of their last nine completed T20s here will surely give them plenty of confidence. Their batting has more firepower than that of Gloucestershire’s and the signing of South African star batsman Faf du Plessis is going to further boost their performance with the bat. Kent may have been beaten by Gloucestershire last time but we are backing them to exact their revenge come Thursday.