James Vince fires warning as Hampshire overcome false start

Hampshire defeated Middlesex by 08 wickets

With a stunning unbroken 88 off 55 balls, James Vince sent a strong message to Hampshire Hawks’ Vitality Blast competitors as the champions started their 2023 season by crushing Middlesex.

Vince, the top run scorer in the 2022 campaign, passed 5,000 T20 runs during his furious innings and is now 61 runs shy of being the Blast’s all-time highest run scorer. He put up 91 runs with Australian Ben McDermott, helping Hampshire overcome their embarrassing loss against Somerset on the first day to win by eight wickets.

Although Middlesex only managed to set the Hawks 172, which they completed with 13 balls remaining, Pieter Malan was outstanding for his 80.

At the Ageas Bowl, Friday had been dubbed Champions Day as Hampshire and Southern Vipers displayed their Charlotte Edwards Cup and Blast trophies. Western Storm was dominated by Vipers to start the day.

On Wednesday, Hampshire lost handily at Taunton for their lowest Blast score, but instead of moping around, they turned the tables on Middlesex.

With an early scoop and a straight drive that nearly took out the umpire in a three-boundary demolition of Tom Helm, McDermott set the tone for the chase.

When their 50 stands came up before the conclusion of the powerplay, Vince, who was on the other end, was no wimp and pushed McDermott to duck out of the way of his own swat down the ground.

When McDermott was on 39, he picked up a wide, long off, but Tom Prest kept up the attack alongside his skipper. However, Vince was in a class of his own. His fifty came and went in the span of just 28 deliveries, and he immediately skipped down the field to slap his maiden six to go along with his ten fours.

After quickly flicking his first in a 17-ball 30, Luke Hollman’s bowling put an early end to Prest’s innings. Vince was caught at deep fine leg but was given an out because Middlesex had too many fielders outside the ring, which made their bad night much worse. The win quickly followed.

Stevie Eskinazi’s early swinging for 31, Malan’s quick, anchoring 80, and Ryan Higgins’ 27 helped Middlesex stay committed and appear to be on track for 200. The final six wickets went for 10 runs in 16 balls and they were unable to bat out their overs since no one else managed to reach double figures.

Joe Cracknell was the only wicket to fall with 53 runs on the board during a fruitful powerplay in which Eskinazi smashed a huge six over midwicket in the opening over.

Prior to Max Holden making a hole in one with the next ball Mason Crane bowled, Eskinazi and Malan had been together for 43 runs when Crane fell for 13 off his first five deliveries.

During his innings-defining 68-run stand with Malan, Higgins reverse swept the hat trick ball away and slog swept two sixes before being caught and bowled by Chris Wood off his toe.

Malan’s innings, which included his 13th T20 fifty off 30 balls, included aggressive down the ground hitting and precise smashes through fielding gaps.

James Fuller, whose first two overs had gone for 30, pulled up Malan and John Simpson in his third over, demonstrating Hampshire’s excellent death bowling.

Hollman was caught behind off a skier by Nathan Ellis, Tom Helm and Nathan Fernandes were run out, and Martin Andersson was out at deep extra cover to round off a disappointing conclusion to a promising innings.