T20 Blast: Nabi is king as Kent smash Surrey

PUBLISHED: 07:28 31 July 2019

Afghanistan's Mohammad Nabi bats during the ICC Cricket World Cup group stage match at the Hampshire Bowl, Southampton.

Afghanistan's Mohammad Nabi bats during the ICC Cricket World Cup group stage match at the Hampshire Bowl, Southampton.

PA Wire/PA Images

Mohammad Nabi smashed five sixes in a remarkable 43 not out off only 12 balls as Kent Spitfires overwhelmed Surrey by nine wickets in a rain-shortened Vitality Blast contest at the Kia Oval last night.

Nabi's assault included three sixes off Rikki Clarke in the third over of Kent's reply to Surrey's seven-over total of 54-4. He then finished things in the next over by slamming leg-spinner Imran Tahir for 6,4,6 from successive balls.

It all meant Kent had raced to victory with three overs to spare and they have strengthened their position in the South Group with a fourth win from four games.

Tahir had given Surrey some hope of defending what always looked a below-par total by having Kent's acting captain Daniel Bell-Drummond lbw for one in the first over of their reply.

But Afghanistan all-rounder Nabi soon snuffed out those hopes with his big hitting, while Heino Kuhn looked on admiringly from the other end with nine not out.

Bell-Drummond said: "Mohammad strikes the ball so well, doesn't he? It is a pleasure to have him around. It was a big toss to win tonight, especially with the rain around, and we were able to know exactly what we had to chase.

"Things are going very well - there's a lot of experience and a lot of pace in the team, so it makes my job easy."

Surrey captain Aaron Finch said: "There was no doubt that our total was short of what we needed, but you are never sure how to go about it when you bat first in these circumstances. To walk out of the sheds after rain delays and immediately go hard from the start is always difficult."

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Only opener Finch broke the shackles of Kent's disciplined bowling, finishing 36 not out from 20 balls with two sixes and a four.

Play did not start until 8pm, initially because of afternoon and early-evening rain with the match starting as a 13-overs a-side affair. But after just one ball - bowled by Milne to Will Jacks who played and missed - more rain drove the players off again and, eventually, the match re-started at 8.50pm as a seven overs a-side contest.

Milne, remarkably, actually completed a maiden in that opening over with three byes the only runs scored, but Jacks cut the first delivery of the second over from Hardus Viljoen to the square third-man boundary to get Surrey's innings going.

Paceman Viljoen soon had his revenge when Jacks mis-hit to extra cover to go for five, leaving Finch to loft the last ball of the power-play - the first ball of the third over - straight for four before bludgeoning Nabi's off-spin for six and, in the final over, reverse-flicking Milne for another maximum.

Ollie Pope managed just one four, a brilliant reverse-flick off left-arm seamer Fred Klassen before hitting to deep mid-wicket off Nabi and Jordan Clark lost his off stump swinging at Viljoen. Surrey's fourth wicket fell when Tom Curran skied to extra cover in Milne's second over.

Turning Point: Adam Milne's figures of 2-1-8-1 were barely believable in a seven overs per-side game. It also meant Kent had a below-par total to chase.

Shot of the Day: Aaron Finch's extraordinary six over third man off an 87-mph near-yorker from Kent's Kiwi paceman Milne with a reverse dink was merely a flick of the Australian's wrists.

Unsung Heroes: Surrey's ground-staff for enabling some sort of game to go ahead for a near-20,000 crowd after so much rain.

Next: Surrey travel to Taunton to take on Somerset on Friday evening before enjoying a week off to rest and further hone their T20 skills ahead of the Kia Oval sell-out against Gloucestershire on August 9. Kent have a busier schedule in the next week. They play Middlesex at Lord's on Thursday evening, followed by a visit to Hove to take on Sussex Sharks 24 hours later and then a home fixture against Hampshire at Beckenham on Sunday.

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