About the Match
With 6 points from four matches, Hampshire continues to be the table-topper and will take on Kent, who have 4 points from just two matches so far, on June 5th at Southampton. Chasing down 146 runs successfully, Hampshire defeated Essex by 8 wickets with 16 balls to spare; on the other hand, Kent defended its humble score of 136 against Gloucestershire and won the match by 21 runs to move ahead on the table to the 2nd position. While Hampshire is playing well as a team, Kent is yet to lose a match and has the highest NRR in the South Division. It will be interesting to see both teams attack with their best armoury and put up a tough challenge for the other as they try to dominate right from the word go.
Winning the toss, Vince put his opponents, Essex, to bat first and the bowlers Briggs, Wood, Abbott and Smith delivered by taking regular wickets and making in-roads into the opposition’s batting line-up. The team fielded well to restrict the run-flow, making it difficult for Essex to score more than 145 runs, which the batsmen achieved easily with 16 balls to spare and 8 wickets in hand. While Carberry got out on a duck in the very first over, Vince’s unbeaten 57 off 47 balls along with Owais Shah’s brilliant half-century from just 35 deliveries steered the team to victory. Adams too contributed with a good 32 runs but it was the captain’s partnership with Shah that added 103 runs for the 3rd wicket to take the team home safely. It was an all-round performance by the players with each department contributing to the cause of the team; it is this positive attitude that has kept them at the top of the table and will continue to do so in the upcoming matches.
The team is fast emerging as the challenger here, yet to suffer defeat and having an impressive NRR of +1.909; in the last match against Gloucestershire, Rob Key preferred to bat first but the top order could hardly lay a good foundation. It was Alex Blake, coming in at No.6, who blasted away an impressive 41 off 30 balls to get the team to a respectable total; Adam Ball stood strong and proved to be a good companion to Blake to help him add a 38-run stand for the 6th wicket. Earlier, Key himself had started well by scoring 24 runs and Stevens too tried to build a partnership with his 21 off 18 deliveries, but they would have to wait for Blake to take charge in the end. Defending this low total, the bowlers led by Riley, who achieved 4-22 and Bollinger who claimed 2 wickets giving away only 15 runs, caused a complete collapse of the opposition batting line-up. Claydon, Griffiths and Stevens took a wicket each to help the team win the game; while the bowling squad is tight and ruthless, the batsmen need to be consistent and bring out their firepower in crunch situations.
Will Hampshire continue to lead the table or will Kent, come out all guns blazing to overpower the toppers and emerge as the front-runners? This can only be answered on Thursday, when the two teams face off to exert their dominance on the field. While the match could swing either way, we feel Kent will win the contest in the end.
Kent, 2.62 @ Bet365