Hampshire’s hopes of reaching the group stages of the t20 Champions League were demolished this afternoon.
The Royals went down by eight wickets to Auckland Aces in their first qualifying pool match at SuperSport Park, Centurion, South Africa.
After crushing Pakistan outfit Sialkot Stallions by six wickets yesterday, the New Zealanders will now top the three-team pool and qualify – regardless of how Hampshire fare against the Stallions tomorrow.
Royals skipper Dimi Mascarenhas led his side out at Centurion knowing they must secure victory to keep their dreams of making the main draw alive.
But a man-of-the-match display by Aces all-rounder Azhar Mahmood ensured their stay in South Africa would be a short one.
He took a brilliant five for 24 with the ball, including the scalps of Royals stars Jimmy Adams and Shahid Afridi for ducks, as Hampshire could only muster 121 for eight from their 20 overs.
Mascarenhas was indebted to a battling, run-a-ball knock of 65 from Michael Carberry – the only bright spot in a dismal display with the bat.
And in reply, former Pakistan international Mahmood struck an unbeaten 55 to see his team over the line with eight wickets and 33 balls to spare.
Hampshire take on Sialkot Stallions in Johannesburg at 4.30pm tomorrow – in what is now a dead rubber for both clubs.