Hampshire started the Friends Life t20 campaign in style with a well-played seven-wicket win against Somerset at The Rose Bowl.
A blistering spell from the smiling assassin, Dimi Mascarenhas – who also caught the eye thanks to a fetching new hair colour – saw him claim figures of three wickets for just 19 runs. That, coupled with James Vince’s “right place, right time” fielding to claim two catches in the deep, restricted Somerset to 145-7 after 20 overs. Michael Lumb then made a glorious return to the club, scoring a well balanced 53. His first-wicket partnership of 90 with Jimmy Adams (39) set the platform for the Royals to reach their target even more comfortably than their nine remaining balls would suggest.
The result firmly wipes out the Royals’ two point deficit with which they entered the competition (due to a poor pitch in the corresponding fixture last season). They will now hope to get off the mark proper with a second home T20 match against the Surrey Lions on Friday.
Somerset won the toss and elected to bat but were quickly on the back foot in the power-play as Mascarenhas took his three wickets in double-quick time. Marcus Trescothick (2) was his first victim in the second over of the game, flashing hard to the off-side for the ball to take an edge to Neil McKenzie who took a blinding catch in the slips.
And the all-rounder struck again in his very next over from the Pavilion End, removing Roelof van der Merwe (15). The South African had been drafted in at the last-minute as cover for Kieran Pollard in the first eight FLt20 games of the summer. However, he didn’t have long to enjoy his debut as he had his off stump pushed back as a seaming ball nipped away, taking a bit of pad to the delight of the crowd.
In his third over Mascarenhas had that trademark smile beaming again as he had James Hildreth (2) hanging his bat out to dry with Nic Pothas collecting up the careless snick. Somerset were in trouble at 37-3 after just 5 overs and needed to build an innings to post a suitable score.
So Peter Trego took it on himself to steady the Somerset ship, putting on a strong 50 runs from 30 balls (including four 4s and three 6s). But it wasn’t long after Somerset reached the magical three figures that Trego (55) was dismissed off a diving catch from James Vince. The youngster was like a magnet to balls played into the deep all game; this time athletically swooping at long on to give captain Dominic Cork his first scalp.
Nick Compton - the last of Somerset’s danger men - put up a similarly defiant stand of 37 before he was dismissed in similar fashion; bowled Cork, caught Vince - this time diving away to his right in the deep. Somerset then went on to lose three wickets in 11 runs to finish at 145-7 after 20 overs, Chris Wood and Imran Tahir getting the last couple.
And Hampshire wasted no time in attacking the visitors with a flurry of boundaries in the opening exchanges; Lumb and Adams the tormentors-in-chief. Lumb, particularly, was in blistering form, proving any who had been too quick to doubt him just how wrong they were by smashing six 4s and three 6s in his 33-ball stay at the crease.
Alas, he was undone only by an unbelievable catch from Arul Suppiah. Lumb had looked to bludgeon Trego over the ropes once again – and would certainly have succeeded had Suppiah not jumped out of his skin to catch way above his head on the ropes.
At 90-1 after 10 overs Hampshire seemed to be well in control and James’ Adams and Vince kept the scoreboard ticking at around 8 runs an over. And though neither would be able to see it through to the end, a patient and intelligent innings from both – along with a solid unbeaten knock from Neil McKenzie (17) – was exactly what was needed and what was carried out.
With just one run required Vince was bowled on 31, leaving Benny Howell to watch a wide down leg to bring up the final run needed. Man of the Match went to Mascarenhas, but all played their part.
This article was done of behalf of the Hampshire CCC and also features on the club website click here for the official link with images from the game.