Gutsy Hampshire come back from the dead again

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James Vince. Picture: Sarah Standing (170455-8793)

Vince relishing ‘second chance’

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Hampshire served up a remarkable salvage mission to rescue their Natwest T20 Blast campaign with a six-run success over Somerset.

Knowing they needed a win from their final south group fixture to take their place in the last eight for the seventh consecutive year, their hopes were hanging by a thread at the midway point in the contest as they posted a below-par 143 for seven from their 20 overs, despite a fine start.

But they then came up with the goods with the ball as Yasir Arafat (four for 37), Will Smith (two for 18) and Danny Briggs (one for 18) all ensured Hampshire made it through in dramatic style once again.

Although technically they could still be ousted from the top four in the final round of fixtures tonight, it would take a mathematical miracle for them to be denied progression.

Hampshire appeared to be charging towards a big total as Michael Carberry and James Vince shared an opening stand of 80 runs inside nine overs.

Carberry, in particular, looked in prime form as he clattered boundaries with ease, including one mighty six that narrowly avoided smashing into a coffee shop way behind the spectators.

But when Vince (24) was then run out with Carberry attempting a quick single, the innings fell apart.

Adam Wheater (nought) went for an ill-judged reverse sweep from his very first delivery and picked out the fielder round the corner.

And when Carberry (58) then holed out after five fours and three sixes in his 41-ball stay, the batsmen toiled once again.

Owais Shah (nine) followed soon afterwards when he was clean bowled and Hampshire’s hopes of making the quarter-finals appeared to go up in smoke when Will Smith (four) and Joe Gatting (11) were both dismissed to leave the score at 112 for six.

Only Gareth Berg (21 not out) was able to add what turned out to be a vital contribution as the home side lumbered to 143 for seven – a hugely disappointing total from their flying start.

At the midway point in the contest, Somerset looked big favourites.

And the visitors looked unruffled until Arafat found a leading edge from Jim Allenby (15) and Briggs completed the catch.

Vince then took an athletic catch to see off former Ventnor man Adam Hose (20) on his debut.

Peter Trego (10) departed cheaply and Tom Cooper (27) played on to Smith before Briggs cleaned up James Hildreth (19) to swing the game back in Hampshire’s favour.

Arafat then bowled Gregory (16) with the final ball of the 18th over and Jamie Overton departed for a duck to effectively end the contest.

Craig Overton then followed his brother back to the bench in the final over as Hampshire completed yet another unlikely victory to keep their hopes alive.