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Hampshire v Middlesex (T20)

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Munro Stars As Hampshire Claim Opening Vitality Blast Victory

Colin Munro struck a superb half-century and claimed two wickets as Hampshire defeated Middlesex at the Ageas Bowl

Colin Munro crashed his maiden fifty in this season’s Vitality Blast as Hampshire finally ended their winless start to the tournament with a comfortable 21-run win over Middlesex.

Overseas star Munro plundered 63 from 40 balls before taking two for 20 with his medium pacers to hand Hampshire their first win, after beginning their campaign with three defeats.

James Fuller had boasted the Vitality Blast’s best figures of six for 28, as Hampshire reached a defendable 184, despite a collapse.

Middlesex’s reply got off to a poor start as Paul Sterling was bowled by Chris Wood to the final delivery of the first over.

But Max Holden, on the back of his format best 84 against Somerset on Thursday night, got his side back on track with a quick fire 36 – before two wickets stunted the visitors in the sixth over.

Mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman responded to returning England Lions star Dawid Malan pumping him over long off by having him on the reverse sweep.

Three balls later Holden was run out by the Afghan following a mix-up to give the early advantage to Hampshire.

Colin Munro joined the wicket-taking when Eoin Morgan, on his 250th Twenty20 appearance, dragged a cut to Rossouw – who made up good ground to complete the catch.

After a 40-run stand for the fifth wicket between John Simpson and Dwayne Bravo – the former skied to James Vince at cover, before Ashton Agar was run out while backing-up.

Bravo, who had started off nurdling, unleashed his supreme power-striking with three massive maximums in his 38 to give Middlesex hope, but Munro caught and bowled him with a steepling catch.

Fuller and Tom Helm were the last to fall as Middlesex ended up 163 for nine.

Earlier, Vince won the toss and batted, on an even paced wicket, and took to demolishing Steven Finn – powerfully smashing the England fast bowler for three boundaries

But Finn had his revenge in his second over as the Hampshire skipper picked out Fuller on the square boundary, with Sam Northeast also following him in the powerplay – swinging to deep midwicket.

Despite the two wickets, the hosts reached 62 in the first six overs thanks mainly to the big-hitting of Munro.

The New Zealander had struggled to get going in his opening three Blast innings but a trio of sixes, twice slapping through the legside with another timed perfectly straight down the ground, as he reached a half-century in 26 balls

Munro, alongside Rilee Rossouw, were timing the ball exquisitely while building the base for a massive total.

But Rossouw’s departure, caught on the upper-cut for a sprightly 32 in a 72-run stand with Munro, sparked a collapse which saw Hampshire lose seven wickets for 56 runs in 43 balls.

Fuller was the architect of the collapse, as he found Tom Alsop chopping-on first ball, and made it three wickets in four deliveries when Munro was well caught on the slide by Holden, at deep square leg.

Liam Dawson was the next to depart as he slogged to Dwayne Bravo at deep mid-wicket.

South African-born New Zealander Fuller claimed his maiden Twenty20 five-for when Gareth Berg tickled behind, before adding a sixth as Lewis McManus flicked to the mid-wicket boundary.

Chris Wood collected a late burst 13, but Ryan Stevenson, run out, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, bowled Bravo, made sure Hampshire were bowled out with two balls to spare.

Words: Press Association