Excellent half-centuries from Michael Carberry (72*) and Owais Shah (64) help Hampshire regain top-spot in the NatWest T20 Blast South Group as they claim a vital 28-run victory over Middlesex at Lords.
Both Carberry and Shah helped the visitors post their highest total in the competition so far this season to finish on a commanding 199-5 batting first.
Although Paul Stirling (54) did his best to thwart the Hampshire attack early-on, a polished bowling performance saw wickets flow at regular intervals to leave the home-side well-short in their chasing effort.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, James Vince’s (14) side got off to a mixed start as both he and Jimmy Adams (7) departed inside the opening overs.
However opener Carberry was joined by Shah and both batsman looked to mount a counter-attack as boundaries flowed to see Hampshire rebuilding at 44-2 following the powerplay overs.
The former Middlesex man Shah was the first to his half-century, the right-hander bringing up the milestone with a huge six and with Carberry then bringing up his fifty also which also marked a brilliant hundred partnership between the pair.
Hampshire looked to have captured the momentum when further destructive hitting followed and despite the loss of Shah, the away-side hit 83 runs from the next six overs with the score 145-2 with four overs still remaining.
A final flourish from Carberry ensured the final four overs added more than 50 runs as he led the side to a fantastic first-innings total.
In reply, early wickets for Jackson Bird (2-41) and Will Smith (2-19) meant Middlesex slumped to 9-2 after just two overs in their pursuit of the imposing total.
A handful of hefty blows from Stirling in the following four overs meant that Middlesex were soon back on track at 65-2.
Good support came from John Simpson (35) and Stirling continued to add his total with yet more boundaries to bring up an impressive half-century.
However Yasir Arafat (2-29) took a fine catch off his own bowling to remove the hard-hitting opener to reduce the hosts to 107-4 with 93 runs from 54 balls still needed.
In the end, some tight and efficient bowling combined with an imposing total proved to be too much for Middlesex and further wickets for Smith as well as Danny Briggs (2-28) helped Hampshire to yet another NatWest T20 Blast win.
Words: Will Brewster