Hampshire smashed Kent at this evening at The Rose Bowl, as Kent were bowled out for a very poor 72, chasing an above-par 141 set by the Royals.
Playing on a used wicket that had seen both test match and 20 over cricket, winning the toss was always going to be an important factor. When Hampshire captain Dominic Cork won the toss and elected to bat, the Royals never looked back. Adams and Lumb took an early fancying to the pace of Kent’s Pakistani star Wahab Riaz, with Adams dispatching him for three early boundaries.
The Hampshire start was slowed as Kent skipper Rob Key threw the ball to part-time off spinner Martin van-Jaarsveld. He removed Adams caught at slip and had danger-man Shahid Afridi stumped the very next ball, leaving the Royals 20-2. Michael Lumb continued to make use of the powerplay overs, this time dispatching the other part-time spinner, Joe Denly, for another three boundaries. However, van-Jaarsveld struck again removing the free-flowing Lumb for a quick fire 20. Martin van-Jaarsveld finished with excellent figures of 4 overs 3-20, before his game was called to an early halt as he split the webbing on his hand in the field.
The two new batsmen, Neil McKenzie and James Vince, looked to consolidate through a difficult period of spin bowling. The pair added a near run a ball 39 for the partnership, before James Vince was caught on the boundary off the bowling of James Tredwell for 22. Neil McKenzie continued to steady the Hampshire innings, along with Sean Ervine, as they looked to set a strong target for the wicket. The pair put on 50, before Wahab Riaz trapped McKenzie LBW for an excellent 48, with the score at 124-5.
Sean Ervine looked to push the run-rate passed 7 an over and unfortunately Dimitri Mascarenhas was collateral damage. He was run out for 0 as Ervine looked to push for two from a mis-field. Ervine and new man Pothas guided Hampshire to a very good total of 141-6 off of their 20 overs, capitalising on some very loose pace bowling from the Kent attack.
Hampshire had a similarly good start with the ball, dismissing both Joe Denly and Azhar Mahmood for ducks leaving Kent 0 for 2. Things didn’t get much better for Kent, as captain Key was the third duck of the innings, falling to a superb catch over his shoulder by Imran Tahir, sparking massive celebrations by Tahir who looked surprised to hold the catch.
Riaz was sent in to try to attack the Hampshire attack. After a quickfire 11, including a big 6, Riaz knicked behind off Mascarenhas for Nic Pothas to take an excellent catch standing up to the stumps. When Darren Stevens was removed for 20 the next over, Kent looked to be dead in the water, with the score at 31-5.
Northeast was run out after a good bit of fielding with the score on 40, leaving the Spitfires effectively 7 down with van-Jaarsveld unavailable to bat. After a 16 run partnership, Hampshire’s high-class overseas leg spinners joined the party, firstly with Afridi removing Ball for 15, before Tahir trapped Geraint Jones LBW. Tredwell and Langeveldt took Kent to a slightly more respectable total of 72, before Tahir ended Kent’s misery, bowling Langeveldt. The 69 run win, took Hampshire back to the top of the South Group table and almost secures a quarter-final place.
Kent posted the fourth lowest total in English domestic 20/20 history. Interestingly, of the top four lowest scores, three were inflicted by the Hampshire bowling attack. Some may say a reflection of the Rose Bowl wicket, others may say the genius captaincy of Dominic Cork in the last two seasons and the excellent hat-trick Dimi Mascarenhas took against Sussex in 2004.
Hampshire have emerged as one of the front-runners in T20 cricket again this year, proving that last years success was anything but a fluke…