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Spitfires hope to seal qualification

Kent Spitfires can secure a home quarter-final in the Royal London One-Day Cup with victory over Sussex Sharks at the Spitfire Ground.

The match, which kicks off the 163rd annual Canterbury Cricket Week, is the only Group B encounter tomorrow, with Kent two points clear at the summit before play.

Warwickshire and Durham closed the gap with wins on Tuesday, but only the former would be able to match a haul of 11 points in the event of a Spitfires win.

Kent are unbeaten in the competition, although they have been frustrated by consecutive Midlands washouts at Trent Bridge and Edgbaston.

Head coach Jimmy Adams, who replaced off-spinner Adam Riley with Imran Qayym in his 13-man squad, told the county’s official website: “We were right in the game against Notts when it was called off, so that was pretty frustrating.

“The lads will be keen to compete with Sussex, they are a good team and we shared the honours during NatWest T20 Blast.”

Darren Stevens has been one of many players to impress as Kent close in on a quarter-final place in the Royal London One-Day Cup

Victory would catapult Sussex from seventh to second in a keenly-contested section.

In Group A, the three teams locked together on eight points at the summit are all in action.

Gloucestershire would have gone top with victory yesterday, but their clash with Lancashire Lightning at Bristol was washed out without a ball being bowled.

Worcestershire at New Road are next on the agenda for Michael Klinger, with the hosts coming off a resounding win over the Red Rose at the weekend and, subsequently, an abandonment of their own at Hampshire.

All eyes will be on how the pitch plays, a day after Jonny Bairstow, Tom Smith and Hamish Rutherford all enjoyed themselves in the middle during the triangular-series clash between England Lions and New Zealand A.

A victory would take Worcestershire - who welcome back Chris Russell from a side strain -  level on points with their opponents and the equation is the same for Derbyshire Falcons as they prepare for a trip to Scarborough to face Yorkshire Vikings.

The Vikings remain top of the pile on net run-rate despite defeat to Essex Eagles last time out and first-team coach Jason Gillespie is keen for his players to take lessons from that match.

Tom Westley continued his excellent campaign against Yorkshire Vikings and Hampshire are next up for the Essex Eagles batsman

“We were disappointed but we can take some positives from Essex and in particular how (Tom) Westley and (Ryan) ten Doeschate played the conditions,” said the former Australia paceman on Yorkshire’s official website. “They taught our batsmen some good lessons and something we can take into the next game.

“They didn’t allow our bowlers to settle and, while I don’t think we bowled badly, I certainly believe we can bowl better than that. If a ball wasn’t quite in the right spot they were punishing it and I thought they batted beautifully.”

Hampshire will hope to knock Essex duo Westley and ten Doeschate out of their stride and could call on England Lion James Vince at the Essex County Ground, knowing victory is a must to keep their quarter-final hopes alive.

Royal London One-Day Cup stats

* Lancashire Lightning have won five of their last six completed List-A matches against Gloucestershire after losing all of the preceding six clashes.

* Yorkshire Vikings have won four of their last five home List-A matches against Derbyshire Falcons.

* Hampshire’s win at Chelmsford last season ended a run of six consecutive away List A defeats against Essex Eagles

* Luke Wright has hit six centuries in English domestic List-A cricket since the start of 2012, two more than any other player.

* Graham Napier has taken three five-wicket hauls in English domestic List-A cricket since the start of 2012, the most in this time.

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