It’s knockout time in the Royal London One-Day Cup as the fight to reach Lord’s on June 30 intensifies. In the first of the play-offs, Kent travel to Nottingham attempting to dethrone the reigning champions and reach the semi-final.
The Outlaws clinched both domestic white-ball titles last season, but were forced to settle for qualification in second place in North Group this season. They secured their progression with a phenomenal win over fellow knockout-chasers Derbyshire in the final round of matches.
Having bowled Derbyshire out for just 110, Notts stormed to their victory target in just 11.5 overs as Riki Wessels and Tom Moores blazed their way into the latter stages.
Kent’s final day was not as successful as they were beaten heavily by Essex and therefore leapfrogged by their opponents and knocked down to third in the South Group. That means they are on the road for this play-off match, with the daunting prospect of taking on the holders.
But Matt Walker’s men have shown their strength in the competition this season, delivering a string of wins which took them into the knockout phase. With captain Sam Billings back in their ranks, the Canterbury side will head to Trent Bridge with confidence.
Their Championship form also ought to enhance belief, even if they were unable to force home a victory against Gloucestershire on Tuesday. A draw brought to an end their run of wins but they remain second in Division Two and have played some superb cricket this season – spearheaded by the country’s leading wicket-taker Matt Henry.
Notts meanwhile were falling to their second successive red-ball defeat, this time at the hands of Somerset. It was a match in which they were forced to follow-on before rallying to post 505 in the second innings. It wasn’t enough and they will hope to shake off that disappointment with this white-ball return.
Kent would love to see a repeat of their last trip to Trent Bridge, where Billings’ century helped them to a successful chase of 335 in 2015.
Tom Moores is one of the brightest young prospects in English cricket and comes into this match high in confidence. He struck his maiden first-class century at Taunton last week and has been a solid performer in the One-Day Cup this season. He has averaged 42.67 through the group phase, but will be disappointed to have only notched one half-century – a tally he will hope to add to at Trent Bridge.
Kent’s numbers two and three Heino Kuhn and Joe Denly have been in sensational form during the South Group. Both have notched two centuries and one half-century, with Denly’s unbeaten 150 the standout performance. Denly averages 85.60 in the competition while Kuhn averages 68.83 – numbers which demonstrate how crucial the pair are to Kent’s hopes of progressing.
Harry Gurney and Luke Wood both return to the squad after shaking off injuries, while Matt Milnes is included again after making his senior Notts debut in the Championship defeat at Somerset. Jake Ball is available after being released to play from the England one-day squad, but Alex Hales is absent due to his involvement in that series.
Nottinghamshire Squad: Chris Nash, Steven Mullaney (c), Riki Wessels, Harry Gurney, Luke Wood, Matt Milnes, Luke Fletcher, Matt Carter, Samit Patel, Tom Moores (wk), Ross Taylor, Jake Ball, Billy Root, Jack Blatherwick
Sam Billings will captain the side after missing out on England selection for the first ODI against Australia. Alex Blake and Calum Haggett are also in the squad after recovering from knocks.
Kent Squad: Daniel Bell-Drummond, Joe Denly, Heino Kuhn, Sean Dickson, Sam Billings (c/wk), Alex Blake, Darren Stevens, Will Gidman, Calum Haggett, Matt Henry, Harry Podmore, Mitch Claydon, Imran Qayyum
Weather and Conditions
There are few better places to bat than Trent Bridge and it is likely to be another high-scoring contest on a terrific batting track. The day is set to start off cloudy and break out into sunshine late afternoon.
Date: June 13th 2018
Ground: Trent Bridge
Odds (SkyBet): Nottinghamshire 4/7, Kent 11/8