James Vince struck a quickfire half-century on his return to the Hampshire side as Kent Spitires claimed a narrow two-wicket Vitality Blast win at the Ageas Bowl
Big hitting Alex Blake powered 57 off 38 balls to maintain the Spitfires’ 100 percent record in the competition, having come to the crease with his side in dire straits.
The 30-year-old walked out at 41 for four, still requiring 105, and took Kent over the line by striking back-to-back sixes from the final over to secure two points from a tight encounter with a ball to spare.
After Hampshire had scored a par 145 from their overs, Kent lost stand-in captain Daniel Bell-Drummond to the fifth ball of the reply when he chopped Chris Wood behind.
Ollie Robinson clubbed World Cup winner Liam Dawson over the midwicket boundary but only picked out Aneurin Donald when attempting an action replay.
The Spitfires were then stunned to 32 for three when overseas star Mohammad Nabi mistimed a pull off Kyle Abbott to Vince at mid-off.
Abbott, who only played three times in last season’s Blast, picked up a quick-fire second when Zak Crawley leading edged to mid-on.
The slide continued when Sean Dickson was stumped off Mason Crane, although Blake powered the leg-spinner to two straight sixes to keep the run-rate manageable.
At the other end, Dawson pinned Jordan Cox lbw, Abbott bowled Adam Milne, Chris Morris caught and bowled Hardus Vijoen but Blake was still there.
And with 16 needed from the last over Hampshire were still favourites.
But two twos and a pair of straight sixes saw the visitors to victory.
Earlier, Hampshire elected to bat first in front of the Ageas Bowl’s highest domestic crowd for two years, with 10,000 spectators packing the ground including thousands of youngsters on All Stars Day.
Donald smashed Hampshire’s first maximum of the competition, over fine leg, but departed next ball when he skied straight up in the air, before Rossouw nicked off.
England World Cup winner Vince proved his hangover had abated a week after that thrilling final at Lord’s when he drove and then cut his first two deliveries the boundary.
The Hampshire skipper then dispatched two sixes off an Imran Qayyum over as he reached 29th T20 fifty in 33-balls.
But two balls later he handed Nabi a caught and bowled. Fred Klaassen, who dismissed James Fuller and Sam Northeast in consecutive balls, and Viljoen ended with figures of two for 27 and two for 20 respectively.