James Vince showed Hampshire don’t always have to rely on Neil McKenzie to win games in the Friends Life t20 as he produced a superb knock to destroy Middlesex.
The Royals batsman blasted a brutal 84 from just 49 balls.
He helped himself to 12 fours and two sixes at Richmond as the visitors cruised to their victory target with 29 balls to spare – an absolute thrashing in t20 terms.
It was not a small target as Middlesex reached 162 for five from their 20 overs.
But a fierce partnership between Vince and Michael Carberry (43) set the Royals on their way to a win that fired them to the top of the south group.
They did it all without the injured McKenzie.
Vince said: ‘I think that’s about as emphatic as it can get, to be honest.
‘We were always confident we could get 160. Keeping wickets in hand was crucial but we got the run rate down to below six per over so you could pick off the bad ball and nudge it around.
‘We got a good partnership going there. We try to make it hard for the bowlers to bowl at us and they found it hard.
‘They might not be too happy with the way they bowled but myself and Carbs put the balls away in good fashion.
‘We were mindful of what happened on Friday when things slowed down and we didn’t have the experience of Macca (McKenzie) coming in at number four.
‘So we had to take it upon ourselves to bat right the way through.
‘We got it down to only four needed and myself and Jimmy (Adams) got out but it was close enough for the guys to finish it off.’
It’s been a patchy season for Vince so far with some sensational knocks and a run of low scores.
But he was confident he was on the verge of scoring a big t20 innings.
Vince said: ‘I’m happy. I feel pretty good in my game at the moment.
‘The first couple of t20 games I hadn’t really got a big score but that’s the way it goes in this format.
‘You’ve just got to keep hitting balls in the nets, keep playing the way I do and it will come off.’
Vince also picked up his first wicket in the competition.
He added: ‘I think some of the bowlers found it tough so I wasn’t expecting it.
‘I’m always ready if I’m needed and I’m glad I got the chance.
‘I didn’t expect to get a wicket. Dimi (Mascarenhas) just said “keep it simple and hit your areas”.
‘There was a chance they would come after me because I’m a part-time bowler – that’s what happened but I managed to get a wicket and it was good to get Adam Voges.’
Vince added: ‘Although we have played here before, coming to a club ground you are never too sure what you’re going to get and that’s why we bowled after winning the toss.
‘It’s obviously a pretty small ground with a quick outfield so to restrict them to 160 was a good effort from the bowlers.
‘Our bowlers put it in the right areas and theirs were slightly out.’