Kent have been boosted ahead of today’s Royal London One-Day Cup clash with Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge by news that they can now select influential captain Sam Billings for their vital quarter final tie.
The England wicketkeeper-batsman was omitted from the side that took on Australia in the first NatWest ODI at the Kia Oval on Wednesday and immediately released after the toss enabling him to travel to the East Midlands and link up with a Spitfires squad on the hunt for a semi-final berth.
Kent will be looking to record their 10th List A win on Nottinghamshire soil and will hope to emulate their last visit, in 2015, when they chased down 335 to win by five wickets.
Billings was the Kent hero that day hitting an unbeaten 118 off only 89 balls and Daniel Bell-Drummond added a useful 73. Half-centuries from Alex Blake and Fabian Cowdrey saw Spitfires over the win line with eight balls to spare.
They will also arrive at Trent Bridge holding a slight edge in terms of List A clashes between the two counties overall, having won 22 times to Nottinghamshire’s 21 victories in the previous 46 contests.
Kent’s head coach Matt Walker said: “It’s always exciting to travel north in this competition because we don’t often come up against these sides in white-ball cricket nowadays.
“We’ll do our research on them and will go there knowing we’ve had good recent success against them. In many ways, it’ll be nice to pit our wits against some fresh faces.”
After just failing to beat Gloucestershire over four gruelling days in Bristol, Kent will at least return to limited overs cricket off the back of some decent batting form having posted 582 for nine – their highest total of the season – in their sole innings in the match.
Sean Dickson, one of Kent’s two century-makers in the game alongside in-form Joe Denly, said: “Our batters thrive on confidence, I know I certainly do, so to go into a quarter final off the back of some decent form has to be a positive for us.
“It’s a bit of a quick bounce from red-ball back to white, but as pro cricketers you have to deal with that these days and just get on with it. And, it is the same for both sides.
“Some people will see us as underdogs I know, but I’m not fazed at all by that. It’s just a case of taking down the job on that day and doing the basics better than the opponents – I back us against any team.”
Kent do, however, have a couple of injury and selection issues amongst their bowling ranks. Calum Haggett is struggling with an on-going back problem, while winter recruit, Harry Podmore, suffered a mid-match knee injury scare in the draw at The Brightside Ground. On the spin front, Imran Qayyum seems likely to return in the place of Adam Riley, who failed to take a wicket in the four-day game.