Young pair Lewis McManus and Ryan Stevenson produced promising performances, but Hampshire’s NatWest T20 Blast match against Surrey at the Kia Oval ended in a disappointing 80-run defeat.
On T20 debut, Stevenson picked up the important wickets of Dwayne Bravo (3) and Tom Curran (4), but it didn’t stop Surrey reaching an impressive total of 188-5 – largely thanks to an 114-run partnership between Kumar Sangakarra (72) and Dom Sibley (67).
Unfortunately Hants lost regular wickets in response with opener McManus, playing in just his second T20 match for the club, top-scored with 41 in 35 balls as the visitors were dismissed for just 108.
Hampshire did get the match off to a positive start when Jason Roy fell for 9 in the fourth over of the game, caught at mid off from a leading edge off the bowling of Darren Sammy (2-27).
Surrey’s innings was soon galloping along, however, as Sangakkara and Sibley matched each other stroke for stroke until the great Sri Lankan surged ahead to reach his half-century first from a mere 24 balls. Sibley soon followed his partner to the landmark, from 35 balls.
Sangakkara slog-swept Sammy for his second maximum before, later in the same 14th over, mis-hitting to long on.
Bravo edged Stevenson to the keeper after making only 3, and Sibley’s fine innings ended in the 17th over when he was held on the ropes attempting to swing fast bowler Best beyond the mid-wicket boundary.
Jimmy Adams uppercut the third ball of Hampshire’s reply for six over backward point but dragged Sam Curran’s next ball on to his stumps and Adam Wheater departed for 8 when he was bowled trying to make room to hit a leg break from Sibley square on the offside.
Sibley had figures of 2-0-9-1 after bowling the second and fourth overs, and both the fifth and sixth overs brought further Hampshire wickets as Sean Ervine edged a drive behind off Ravi Rampaul and Liam Dawson was also out for 1, bowled as he heaved at Tom Curran.
Ansari reduced Hampshire to 52 for 6 by having Smith held in the deep and Sammy caught by keeper Ben Foakes for a first ball duck, and when Sibley returned to the attack he had Lewis McManus caught at deep square leg for 41 one ball after being struck for six.
After that, there was some defiant blows from Gareth Andrew in a 22-ball 31, ended by an athletic leaping boundary catch by Bravo, celebrated by an impromptu jig facing that section of the crowd, and for Bravo to follow that up by having Ryan Stevenson caught behind with his second ball and last man Tino Best held at mid off from his fourth ball.
Hampshire’s players wore black armbands in memory of Hamza Ali, who made a first-class appearance for the county earlier this season and who has tragically passed away at the age of 20.