Hampshire Fall To Final Over Defeat Against Kent Spitfires

Hampshire suffered a difficult five-run defeat to the Kent Spitfires at the Ageas Bowl

Shahid Afridi took four wickets but Hampshire suffered a five-run defeat against the Kent Spitfires in the 2017 NatWest T20 Blast on Tuesday evening.

Afridi (4-26) shone on a turning wicket as the hosts restricted Kent to 159-6 off their 20 overs, with wickets for Kyle Abbott and Mason Crane.

In reply, Tom Alsop (43*), George Bailey (41) and captain James Vince (39) all contributed but Hampshire fell five runs short as their T20 season suffered a blip.

Despite an economical start from Hampshire’s bowlers, both Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drummond ticked things along, guiding their side to 47-0 in the opening powerplay.

However, Crane (1-28) made the breakthrough, bowling the in-form Denly (31) to reduce the visitors to 65-1 after eight overs.

Bell-Drummond and captain Sam Northeast rebuilt the innings guiding Kent to 83-1 at the halfway stage despite the efforts of the Hampshire bowlers.

In the very next over, Afridi claimed his first scalp, clean bowling Northeast (10) with Kent moving onto 93-2 off 11 overs, despite Bell-Drummond progressing nicely, moving to his half-century.

Afridi then claimed the important wicket of Sam Billings (4) as Kent fell to 106-3 with seven overs of the innings remaining.

The Hampshire spinners were bowling very well in tandem, and Afridi took two wickets in his final over as the visitors collapsed from 118-3 to 120-5 and in danger of posting a low total.

Alex Blake (23*) and Darren Stevens (16) nudged Kent up to 159-6, with Abbott (1-31) dismissing the latter off the final ball of the innings.

Vince and Rilee Rossouw (13) got the hosts off to a fantastic start in reply, taking advantage of the fielding restrictions to motor Hampshire to 43-1 off the opening four overs.

The Hampshire captain (39) was playing well with a selection of classy shots, but his 26-ball stay at the crease came to an end when was bowled by Matt Coles.

Despite this, the hosts enjoyed a successful powerplay, ending the opening six overs on 64-2 as the target edged into double figures.

Bailey and Alsop carried on the momentum for the hosts, guiding their side to 90-2 after 11 overs, with Hampshire needing 70 runs off the final 9 overs to win the contest.

The pair edged Hampshire into three figures with Bailey crunching back-to-back boundaries, before the Australian brought up the fifty partnership with a delicate chip over the wicket-keeper.

That brought the target below 50 runs, and just as Bailey was looking set to post his first half-century of the T20 season, he was unfortunate to pick out Claydon at short-fine leg with Hampshire falling to 123-3.

Hampshire needed 24 runs off the final three overs, and after a tidy over from Neesham, Dawson (4) looked to end proceedings quickly, but was caught in the deep to leave Hampshire on 138-4.

Despite their best efforts, Alsop and Lewis McManus (8*) could only get Hampshire to 154-4 in reply to see the side suffer a five-run defeat.