HAMPSHIRE held their nerve to claim a fourth straight Friends Life t20 victory with a tense two-wicket success over Glamorgan last night.
In a low-scoring, yet nail-biting tussle, the Royals appeared to be well on course at the mid-way stage having restricted the Welsh visitors to 120 for nine.
But the Hampshire batting line-up struggled for the first time in this year’s t20 and it was left to man-of-the-match Danny Briggs to knock off the winning runs with four balls to spare.
Briggs, who was left out of the five-over victory at Kent on Sunday, was back in the side for the rested Imran Tahir and grabbed his opportunity with both hands.
Glamorgan were in trouble when both openers – Mark Cosgrove (three) and Alviro Petersen (14) – had gone within five overs.
Cosgrove was left stranded halfway down the track as Petersen called a second run and Chris Wood delivered a swift throw for Dimi Mascarenhas to remove the bails with minimal fuss.
And Petersen was soon following his partner back as Cork found a way through to clatter his stumps.
Wood’s excellent four-over return of two wickets for just 17 runs saw him strike a first blow to remove Ben Wright before adding the scalp of Chris Cooke towards the end of the innings.
But Briggs (four for 24) was the star of the show with the ball as he picked up two wickets in the 13th over, first trapping Mark Wallace lbw before David Brown got the faintest of edges into Nic Pothas’ gloves soon afterwards.
At 75 for six, the Royals were in command and when they restricted the Dragons to 120 for nine from 20 overs, there would have been few betting against a fourth win on the spin for the home side.
But the Glamorgan spinners made full use of a helpful pitch.
Jimmy Adams was out for a duck in the first over, caught in the deep, but James Vince looked in sensational form for his 32 before he fell to veteran Robert Croft (one for 16) to follow Michael Lumb (18) who skied one to short fine leg.
Benny Howell (two) became Dean Cosker’s second victim before Nic Pothas and Neil McKenzie conjured up a dreadful run-out, running into each other halfway down the pitch to leave Pothas well short when diving for his ground.
The Royals were soon underdogs when McKenzie (23) picked out the deep mid-wicket fielder to leave his side at 91 for six.
Mascarenhas (14) and Chris Wood produced a brief riposte before Danny Briggs joined Cork.
And with only four runs needed to win from the final over, the Dragons knew that only wickets could save them.
Briggs showed confidence to strike his first ball away for a couple and he then guided a classy stroke through the in-field to win the game.