Michael Carberry’s impressive knock was the highlight of an otherwise disappointing display from Hampshire as they went down to a five-wicket defeat at Kent in their latest Royal London One-Day Cup clash.
The left-hander was in fine form against the county he left in 2005 as he cruised to 61 from just 50 balls as he blasted nine fours and two sixes in a flying start to the innings at Canterbury.
As they raced away, it looked like Hampshire would be on for another big total after their 343 for six in the win over Sussex earlier this week.
But when Carberry departed and the opening stand of 80 was broken, Hampshire’s innings limped to 233 all out as they failed to bat their full 50-over allocation.
The total always looked well short of a par score and so it proved as Kent reached their victory target with seven overs to spare.
An excellent unbeaten 80 from Daniel Bell-Drummond and a fine 78 from opening partner Joe Denly, ensured the home side were well in command as they built a 131-run opening stand.
And despite three for 47 from the returning Fidel Edwards and a middle-order collapse from Kent, they always looked likely to have enough in the tank to secure the victory.
It was Carberry’s downfall to a miscued pull to mid-on – having plundered 48 of his runs in boundaries – that led to a gradual Hampshire demise as Kent took a grip on events.
Jimmy Adams (47) had been a virtual spectator for much of the opening period with Carberry bossing the strike, but the Kent spinners then put the brakes on with Fabian Cowdrey (three for 32) the pick of the bunch.
Adam Wheater (13) was caught in the deep before James Vince (three) was bowled by Darren Stevens.
When Joe Gatting (11) and Adams were dismissed, Hampshire were in big trouble at 158 for five.
And they did not help their own cause with two self-inflicted run-outs as Gareth Berg (18) and Liam Dawson (26) exposed the tail, which failed to take the score beyond 250 as they were bowled out with 19 balls remaining.
Knowing that the run-rate was not particularly testing, Kent’s reply was much more measured as Joe Denly and Bell-Drummond picked off anything loose while leaving alone anything remotely risky.
The ploy paid dividends as both batters cruised to half-centuries and it came as something of a shock when Denly clipped a return catch to Edwards to make it 131 for one.
Though Sam Northeast (six), Sam Billings (nought) and Cowdrey (six) all fell cheaply, it only delayed the inevitable.
Bell-Drummond steered his side to victory, and together with cameos from Stevens (21) and Alex Blake (34 not out), Hampshire’s fate was sealed.