When a side are set 198 to win a Natwest T20 Blast quarter-final away from home, there are not many takers for the away win bet.
Those who questioned Hampshire’s hopes of a miraculous run-chase clearly didn’t account for James Vince’s gift.
The 23-year-old is in a class of his own in this kind of mood.
Short of runs in the t20 format of late, he made up for that with one of those memorable knocks that will be recalled when he has long hung up his boots.
It was a sensational 93 not out, full of typically flowing Vince-like strokes – the only negative was that he didn’t get the century he so richly deserved.
While he was dropped on 20 by Alex Hales after a full-blooded drive to cover, it was the only chance he offered.
With the home side’s powerful batting line-up blasting 197 for two, the prospects didn’t look great.
Riki Wessels (62 not out) and Samit Patel (53 not out) looked to have done enough.
How wrong we all were.
Vince and Michael Carberry (31) got the innings off to a flying start before the left-hander fell to Patel, who shot off in celebration as if he’d won the game in that very moment.
Glenn Maxwell was passed fit and made 11 before he fell to Ajmal Shahzad, who then claimed Jimmy Adams with the next ball.
On a hat-trick and with Hampshire’s momentum grinding to a halt, Sean Ervine (39) survived the first ball with ease and then went through the gears to get his side back on track.
All the while at the other end, Vince kept peppering the boundary with 11 fours and four sixes.
Even after Ervine holed out going for a third mighty six in his excellent contribution and Will Smith (nine) departed, Hampshire powerd along and needed just 13 runs from the final two overs.
They did it with a full over to spare.
A semi-final with Lancashire awaits on August 23 and if Hampshire produce this kind of form again, few would bet against them from taking a third t20 title.
Maxwell and Kyle Abbott are expected to miss finals day because of international commitments but Owais Shah could return.