By Connor Steel
HAMPSHIRE HAWKS continued their mixed start to the 2023 Vitality Blast on Wednesday night as they beat Somerset by five runs in a thriller at the Ageas Bowl; halting the visitors’ perfect record in the competition and further avenging a heavy defeat against the exact opposition in a reverse match at Taunton three weeks ago.
The away team elected to bowl first with Ben McDermott and James Vince starting quickly on a flat pitch; the former hitting three boundaries before being caught off Matt Henry to leave the hosts 23-1 after 15 balls. This was the single powerplay wicket to fall as Toby Albert joined his captain to move the score past the fifty mark.
Vince continued his brilliant form with two huge maximums to reach another half century but was slightly less fluent than normal as he survived two LBW appeals and almost dragged back into his stumps in the 8th over. But his partner was actually the second victim as Albert (21) was caught off an inswinging Ben Green yorker.
From this point Somerset dominated the middle overs and squeezed the run-rates with accurate bowling; the batsmen only able to score fourteen runs from eighteen balls before Vince hooked a frustrated drive and was caught in the deep. This saw the hosts on 97-3 in the thirteenth over with the hundredth run soon brought up.
Joe Weatherley (59*) then burst into life as he smashed successive fours and followed this up with two sixes; eventually hitting seven boundaries in his unbeaten half century to push Hampshire to 170-3 in the final over. Ross Whitely (14) was caught by Will Smeed with Aneurin Donald adding 8 runs to end the innings on 178-4.
This score was seen as being ‘par’ but the early indications weren’t great for home bowlers; Tom Banton and Smeed starting with an explosive partnership that exceeded expectations as natural light began to fade. This pair reached 69-0 during their powerplay, which featured multiple boundaries displaying accuracy and power.
Liam Dawson’s introduction saw the first Somerset dismissal as Banton (31) top-edged his shot behind in the seventh over; Smeed smashing two maximums to reach his half century just 12 balls later. But the batsman’s fun was shortly ended at the halfway mark when he sent Mason Crane to right-mid-on, leaving them on 98-2.
Sean Dickson made nineteen runs before his stumps were uprooted by John Turner after fourteen overs; the away team still looking in control of their chase as Tom Kohler-Cadmore began to dominate. He added a fine multitude of fours off Scott Currie before hitting two big sixes to bring up the 150 mark before this tide turned.
Nathan Ellis leaked just 3 runs in the seventeenth over before Kohler-Cadmore edged behind off Turner with sixteen balls left to bowl. The 19th over saw Lewis Gregory (3) dismissed and Tom Lammonby (8) caught off Ellis; the death bowling sealing the win as Green was only able to hit thirteen in the last over with 19 needed.
Somerset remain top of the South Group after seven matches played despite defeat whilst the Hawks moved up to 3rd with their fourth successive victory following two earlier losses. Vince’s team will now travel to Kent on Friday evening (June 9) before returning to red ball cricket from Sunday with a planned trip to Lancashire.
PICTURED BY HAMPSHIRE HAWKS: Home players celebrate taking late wicket at the Ageas Bowl as they edge out Somerset on Wednesday evening, sealing their fourth successive Vitality Blast win to rise up table.