All-rounder Liam Dawson struck an outstanding half-century but Hampshire fell agonisingly short by three runs against Kent Spitfires in the latest Vitality Blast South-Group match-up.
It was Kent seamer Mitch Claydon who held his nerve at the death when, with six runs needed for a Hampshire win, a near-perfect yorker restricted the visitors to a single.
Hampshire made a less than ideal start to their pursuit losing, James Vince, Colin Munro and Sam Northeast in the first seven balls, but Rilee Roussouw, Hampshire’s Lord’s century-maker and man-of-the-match, teamed up with fellow left-hander Tom Alsop to counter attack.
Alsop, who hit 72 in the RLODC final, maintained the high tempo despite the loss of Rossouw, by taking 12 off Imran Qayyum’s first over of left-arm spin but, in attempting a reverse sweep he was bowled by Calum Haggett to go for 41.
Dawson and Lewis McManus added a quickfire 55 in 5.3 overs with both batsmen finding the boundary with regularity.
Dawson was outstanding in particular on his way to posting a 30-ball fifty but, in fading light and with 45 required from the last 24 balls, Haggett and Brathwaite sent down tight overs.
Dawson chipped away with two more boundaries in the final over and with five needed off the final delivery, Claydon delivered a near perfect Yorker to limit Dawson, who finished unbeaten, to a single.
Batting first after losing the toss, Kent posted 210 for four due, in large, to an unbeaten 95 from skipper Sam Billings. Billings hit seven fours and five sixes in his 54-ball stay that beat his previous T20 best of 78*.
Home opener Joe Denly departed for 18 in the fifth when he skied a back-foot force against Chris Wood high to Dawson at long on to become Wood’s 100th T20 victim. Then, in the next over, Heino Kuhn scooped a Ryan Stevenson slower ball to mid-on as Spitfires ended the powerplay on 50 for two and to give the seamer his first Hampshire wicket on his return to the side.
Dawson continued to stem the flow of boundaries to restrict the hosts to 83 for two at their innings mid-point.
Kent’s third-wicket pair continued nicely, adding 66 in 7.2 overs before Bell-Drummond, on 46, drove a low full-toss from Stevenson to Vince at cover.
Billings and Alex Blake posted the highest stand of the innings, adding 70 in five overs before Blake was run out by Wood’s direct hit. Carlos Brathwaite and Billings then clubbed leg-side sixes in the final over as Kent maintained a scoring rate in excess of 10 an over.
Words: Press Association