Hampshire’s impressive run in this season’s Natwest T20 Blast came to a juddering halt as they were crushed by eight wickets at The Oval by Surrey.
James Vince’s side endured a terrible day at the office as they struggled to just 131 for nine from their 20 overs – a target that the home side knocked off with 36 balls to spare .
But it was a batting display that was bordering on the embarrassing as they limped to 57 for six in the 11th over
They were in real danger of failing to bat the full 20 overs as wickets fell at regular intervals with none of the batsmen making any sort of impression and then failing to adjust to the situation they were in.
Vince (eight) was the first man to depart, edging behind, while the in-form Jimmy Adams (10) followed in the fifth over, picking out the fielder with a powerful sweep.
When Michael Carberry (16) fell in the sixth over, feathering a delivery from his old team-mate Chris Tremlett to the wicketkeeper, it was full on panic stations for Hampshire at a lowly 36 for three.
But in that situation, someone should have shown a bit more nous and stuck around.
Glenn Maxwell (four) failed again, but it was the manner of his demise that raised eyebrows as he launched an attempted heave straight down the fielder’s throat at long on – hardly the shot to play considering the precarious state of the innings.
Hopes that Sean Ervine would stick around and play the anchor were soon dashed as he went the same way, holing out in the deep with just 10 runs to his name and Hampshire in total disarray at 49 for five.
When Matt Coles (two) decided to attempt an extravagant reverse sweep with the score at 55 for five, Hampshire looked anything but a side which was sitting at the top of the south division, especially when he was then run out.
Such was the paucity of boundaries, even the flame throwers at The Oval were in danger of freezing over.
But thankfully, Will Smith (25) showed some intelligence, hitting gaps and taking his opportunities as they arose until he was stumped off a wide – perhaps summing the whole innings up.
Alongside him, Chris Wood (27) showed his maturity, knowing that someone needed to stay at the crease – until he got carried away in the final over, attempting to scoop over the keeper’s head, only to serve up an easy catch.
He clearly hadn’t learned after Michael Bates (13) had gone exactly the same way in the previous over.
But Kyle Abbott (11 not out) from just three balls, dragged Hampshire to 131 for nine – a total that was far beyond what it might have been.
However, it never looked remotely like being enough and the only question was the margin and speed of defeat.
Perhaps understandably, the body language among the Hampshire players resembled a team that knew they were well beaten as Surrey started their reply with consummate ease, cruising to 78 without loss by the end of the powerplay.
Jason Roy (63) raced to his half-century in just 19 balls before Danny Briggs bowled Tillakaratne Dilshan (15).
That brought ex-Hampshire and England man Kevin Pietersen (24 not out) to the middle, who started slowly but then unleashed some glorious strokes to see his side home.