T20 Blast: Zak Crawley hits first ton as Kent beat Hampshire and Sussex lose to Essex

Zak Crawley
Zak Crawley’s previous best in T20 cricket was 89 against Essex at Chelmsford in August 2019

England Test opener Zak Crawley maintained his summer love affair with Southampton as he inspired Kent to the top of the South Group table with a stunning maiden T20 Blast century.

On the ground where he hit 267 for England against Pakistan three weeks go, Crawley smashed an unbeaten 108 as Kent beat Hampshire by eight wickets.

The win took Kent above Sussex, who lost at home to holders Essex.

Dan Lawrence’s 81 proved the difference as Essex won by 12 runs at Hove.

Surrey could still top the group on better run rate if they win against Middlesex at Lord’s, one of two later starts along with the Yorkshire-Lancashire North Group game in Leeds.

Yorkshire have withdrawn four players – Matthew Fisher, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Josh Poysden and England all-rounder David Willey – from their squad in accordance with guidance relating to coronavirus.

Yorkshire say they are “awaiting results of a Covid test which will determine future availability”.

At Hove in one of two afternoon starts, Sussex were kept in the hunt by 47 from Aaron Thomason on his T20 debut and 30 in 17 balls from David Wiese. But, from 152-4, needing 46 off 20 balls, they lost four quick wickets, including Wiese and one of Essex’s match winners on Finals Day a year ago, Ravi Bopara.

The Essex victory was their first in seven attempts in T20 this season since that great day at Edgbaston, although they did start the campaign with a tie and a rain-off.

While they ended a run of four straight losses to keep their faint qualification hopes alive, Kent bounced back well from Saturday’s defeat by Sussex.

Crawley keeps up cracking form

Opening batsman Crawley had been in decent enough form in this year’s Blast, having followed up his marathon career-best double century in the final Test against Pakistan with 196 runs in six innings, including just one half-century for the Spitfires at 39.20.

But his stunning century was in a different league, his 108 in 54 deliveries coming at a rate of exactly two a ball, with a breathtaking array of shots to every corner of the ground, including two sixes and 14 fours.

Backed by 38 off 29 balls from fellow England man Joe Denly in a second-wicket stand of 121, Crawley reached three figures just before the end, as Kent got home on 183-2 with 17 balls to spare.

In the process, Crawley followed Andrew Symonds, Azhar Mahmood, Sam Northeast, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Joe Denly by becoming the sixth Kent batman to make a hundred in all three main forms of the professional game.

Coming next

Tuesday, 15 September (start times BST)

14:00 – Gloucestershire v Birmingham Bears – Bristol

18:30 – Northants Steelbacks v Worcestershire Rapids – Northampton

18:30 – Leicestershire Foxes v Derbyshire Falcons – Leicester

BBC News