RILEE ROSSOUW blitzed his way to a career-best 156 to lead Hampshire to victory against Somerset by four wickets in the Royal London One-Day Cup at Taunton.
The South African opened the Ageas Bowl outfit’s innings and stayed at the crease almost to the end to ensure the visitors won with more than 12 overs to spare.
Rossouw, who made his return since chipping a bone in his finger almost a month ago, hit 24 fours and two sixes in his knock and inched Hampshire closer to qualifying for the next stage of the competition.
And the 27-year-old revealed he blocked out any mind games during his maiden Hampshire ton.
Rossouw said: ‘This was a great win for us. The job is not done and we still need a couple more wins to qualify, but definitely we are going in the right direction.
‘I really enjoyed my knock. It’s one of my best and I’m just happy to get my first century for the club. I stayed in my bubble and didn’t let the chirps or the bowlers get to me.
‘It was my day and I just carried on and seemed to have everything on my side. It was just a special knock.’
Somerset were put into bat and could only muster a below-par 249, which included half centuries from Dean Elgar, Pete Trego and Adam Hose.
The hosts were rescued from two wickets down for one run by Elgar and Trego, who put on 85 together.
The latter went past 50 with a square drive off Gareth Berg from 45 balls before the bowler got revenge five runs later. Elgar was caught behind off Liam Dawson’s bowling for 78.
Hose returned to face the county that released him as a youngster. He scored his fifth half-century in as many innings before being caught off Mason Crane without adding any more to his total.
Hampshire took advantage of some wayward bowling in the opening stages of their innings.
After the visitors had Tom Alsop dismissed for a duck, left-hander Rossouw shared a second-wicket stand of 114 with skipper James Vince before he was out for 35.
The ex-South Africa international scored his runs freely and was particularly ruthless on anything short.
It wasn’t until Somerset introduced Tim Groenewald and Roelof van der Merwe into the attack that they were able kerb his run spree.
Rossouw duly went to his century from just 73 balls with a boundary to square cover off van der Merwe.
Hampshire were within touching distance of their target when Jamie Overton, who was expensive in his earlier overs, returned to the line up.
He picked up four quick wickets, including Rossouw.
But by that time the outcome was a formality as the visitors became the first team to beat Somerset this season in the Royal London One-Day Cup.