Well we lost, and it leaves us needing to win against a strong Sussex side at Hove tomorrow, plenty of pressure on now. From the moment Hamilton-Brown called wrongly at the toss I feared for our chances.
Kent's strength lies in the depth of their batting, and on a good pitch being given the chance to set a total they immediately looked comfortable batting first. Despite Key being the first of four run-outs in just the third over, they kept the run rate and the pressure up, only Dirk Nannes and the returning Jade Dernbach were able to offer the captain much control. Full credit to Darren Stevens and Azhar Mahmood, both of them batted (and bowled as it turned out) superbly.
The final Kent total of 181 actually represented a good comeback from Surrey, at one point we were in danger of conceding well over 200. A few good overs from Nannes and Dernbach at the death made it much more competitive. We conceded probably 10-15 runs in the field that we need not have, Arafat was particularly poor in that department.
Hamilton-Brown and Roy gave us a good platform in taking us to 87-1 but they were both dismissed within an over or so, and herein lies the problem with the selection with which Adams persists.
When the opposition has us three down, with only the allrounders to come thereafter, they know they can put the squeeze on and there's no outlet for us. I know there is no fool-proof solution to this, but if Maynard and de Bruyn could play with a bit more freedom - the freedom afforded by another pure batsman in the side, we would not have had such a problem tonight I feel. That none of our bottom six players passed 20 says an awful lot.
I can see the argument behind having six bowling options, but our side has eight bowling options, I just think we can afford to play the extra batsman, and in a must-win game it's surely worth gambling on the fitness of Mark Ramprakash and adding him to the squad?
The situation is what it is, we have one game left to play, we have to win it, simple. We are a good side under pressure, and we've already shown we can beat Sussex this season. But make no mistake, Sussex have to win to guarantee qualification as well and they are no mugs. The composition of the side is unlikely to change significantly, only Wilson or Schofield can really come in given the squad named and given Arafat's performance tonight and the nature of the pitch at Hove, Schofield could well play tomorrow night. It's all to play for, come on the 'Rey!