Hampshire’s fine recent t20 run came to an end in spectacular fashion in a 38-run defeat at Surrey.
Even though the Royals looked well in the game at the halfway stage, having restricted Surrey to 151 for five, their batsmen came and went in a blur, with only Shahid Afridi (36), the recalled Liam Dawson (26) and number-11 batsman Imran Tahir (17 not out) reaching double figures in their total of 113 all out.
With nine wins from 11 completed t20 games this season, it’s foolish to suggest that there is too much to read into it.
But if nothing else, it was a timely reminder the Royals are far from invincible if they are not totally on their game.
And in t20 cricket, a bad start normally means curtains.
Dominic Cork and Dimi Mascarenhas (both two for 23) appeared to set Hampshire’s platform for a testing run chase as Surrey’s Tom Maynard (47) led the way for his side.
But at nine for four in four overs, few gave Hampshire much chance of staging any kind of recovery.
It started badly as Jimmy Adams (nought) edged behind in the first over, before James Vince (nought) fell in the second attempting an expansive shot for a boundary.
Neil McKenzie (one) was the next to follow and Sean Ervine (nought) played a dreadful waft to take his place in the procession of wickets as former Rose Bowl ace Chris Tremlett (four for 16) wreaked havoc.
Afridi and Dawson raised hopes as they put on 51, with the Pakistan all-rounder playing some glorious strokes in between enjoying some luck as aerial shots found gaps.
Dawson, meanwhile, looked in good nick despite playing his first t20 game of the season.
But once Afridi was eventually caught, the game was effectively up.
And only a late show of defiance from Michael Bates (nine) and Tahir got Hampshire beyond the 100 mark.
A defeat can be shrugged off, with the Royals still well on course for the last eight. But they will want a response at Hove tomorrow to ensure they do not lose their momentum.