Darren Stevens, 45, put ‘devastating’ T20 Blast quarter-final snub behind him to roll back the years and fire Kent Spitfires to final victory over Somerset at Edgbaston
- Darren Stevens played a key role in Kent Spitfires’ T20 Blast victory this week
- Stevens, 45, hit 47 not out in the semi-final before putting 12 runs on in the final
- The veteran was dropped for the quarter-final victory over Birmingham Bears
- Stevens was devastated by the snub but is now delighted with the final win
Darren Stevens delivered on his pledge to lead Kent to Vitality Blast glory – made in a furious response to being omitted for last month’s quarter-final.
Stevens, 45, rolled back the years at Edgbaston on Saturday to become a Twenty20 champion for the third time, crashing a rapid unbeaten 47 in the semi-final success over Sussex and then adding a dozen more quick runs and returning figures of 4-0-30-1 as Somerset were defeated in the final.
Of his reaction to being told five minutes before the toss by captain Sam Billings and coach Matt Walker that Alex Blake had been preferred in the XI to face Birmingham Bears in the last-eight tie, Stevens recalled: ‘Was I disappointed? Let’s just say… you wanted to be a fly on the wall. I’d played all 14 group games.
Darren Stevens delivered on his pledge to lead Kent to Vitality Blast glory in Saturday’s final
Stevens added 12 quick runs in the final victory over Somerset at Edgbaston in the Kent win
‘I was devastated but one thing I did say is ”you get us to finals day and I’ll win you the comp.” If I didn’t show that attitude they’d be disappointed in me. It was passion for the club, passion for playing big games of cricket. I want to be at the forefront of any big match situation. I feel that knock in the semi-final did myself justice.’
Stevens was a member of the Leicestershire team that were England’s second domestic T20 winners and also triumphed in Birmingham three years later in 2007 – Kent’s previous silverware.
And he retains motivation for more, having signed up for 2022 in May. ‘I’ve got no interest in stopping. As long as I keep looking after my body, as long as the eyes stay good, I’ll be alright,’ he said.
The 45-year-old is now a T20 Blast champion for the third time after Saturday’s victory
However, it was a player at the other end of the career spectrum in Jordan Cox, who earlier struck 58 not out with the bat, that produced the astounding moment of another captivating finals day.
Tannoy-relayed instructions to freebie ticket holders to whoop and holler were not required. The theatre, as it so often does on this occasion, spoke for itself.
Yes, it was a priceless marketing moment but it didn’t cost a bean.
Air Jordan soared beyond the boundary rope in front of the Eric Hollies Stand and slapped Lewis Gregory’s six-bound shot off Stevens into the grasp of the gleeful Matt Milnes – and a 23,500 full house of legacy fans rose to in recognition that the destiny of the real jewel of English domestic cricket had been decided.
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