Vince and Shah destroy Essex

James Vince. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
James Vince. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
Tom Alsop. Picture: Neil Marshall

Alsop: Best is yet to come from Hampshire

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James Vince and Owais Shah crashed Hampshire to a Natwest T20 Blast thumping of Essex as they registered a third straight win in the competition.

Vince (57 not out) and Shah (50 not out) were in commanding form as they helped the home side romp to an eight-wicket win, easing to their victory target of 146 with 16 balls to spare.

An impressive bowling display restricted Essex to 145 for five as Danny Briggs (two for 23) and Kyle Abbott (one for 18) stopped Essex from getting towards a competitive total.

Their innings started slowly as dangerman Jesse Ryder was caught in the deep as he miscued a Chris Wood delivery that found Jimmy Adams’ safe hands on the boundary.

But Essex pair Mark Pettini and Tom Westley (17) accelerated the scoring until Briggs struck in his first over to remove Westley and put Hampshire back on top.

And they could have been in total command, only for a number of aerial shots to fall agonisingly short of fielders in the deep.

James Foster made a useful run-a-ball 29 but it was Ben Foakes (43) who gave Essex hope with a bright knock.

In reply, Hampshire got off to the worst possible start as they lost Michael Carberry to a duck as he was caught in the deep in the first over.

Adams (32) then looked in sensational form, clattering one six and and four fours in his 19-ball knock before he fell to a tame dismissal.

That brought Shah to the crease, who was clearly in no hurry as he took nine balls to get off the mark.

But, playing against his former club, Shah then went through the gears with one superlative swept six back of square that so nearly crashed into the giant screen behind several rows of seats.

Perhaps the crucial moment had arrived earlier when Vince was dropped on 23 by Tom Moore on the long off boundary – a sitter in modern t20 standards – as he failed to hang on to a straightforward catch.

But the skipper made the most of his let-off with another classy display to reach his third consecutive half-century in this year’s t20.

It was fitting, however, that Shah should blast the winning runs with another glorious six to seal victory.