Vince and Smith star in Hampshire win

James Vince: Picture: Neil Marshall
James Vince: Picture: Neil Marshall
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Sam Northeast during the press conference at the Ageas Bowl on Friday. Picture:

Northeast: I can realise my dreams with Hampshire

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Hampshire claimed a tense 18-run victory at Sussex to get their Natwest T20 Blast campaign up and running.

After defeat in their opener to Glamorgan last week, James Vince’s side bounced back in style as the captain himself struck a brilliant 52 to fire Hampshire to 177 for five.

And Will Smith (two for 21) was then the unlikely hero with the ball as Hampshire extended their unbeaten record against their south coast rivals to six games.

Hampshire made four changes to the side that lost to Glamorgan a week ago as Owais Shah, Adam Wheater, Chris Wood and Brad Taylor came in for Michael Carberry, Liam Dawson, Joe Gatting and Michael Bates.

And a much-improved batting display, led by Vince, gave Hampshire an ideal platform as they reached an imposing total.

Vince was in sublime form as his partnership with Jimmy Adams (19) got the side off to a flying start.

Adams perished when he miscued high into the air but Wheater (34), batting at number three, helped Hampshire to an excellent 65 for one by the end of the powerplay.

Wheater was happy to play second fiddle to Vince as he brought up his half-century - his 10th in t20 cricket for Hampshire - in just 25 balls with a mighty six launched over mid-wicket.

After eight fours and two sixes, Vince was gone as he targeted the mid-wicket boundary again,only for Matt Machan to take a fine low catch to end a classy knock.

That saw Shah (17 not out) arrive for his Hampshire debut but he seemed happy to play the anchor role, while the others around him went for boundaries.

In fact, the former England man didn’t find the rope at all in 22 balls, which would suggest he needs a game or two to shake off the rust.

Sean Ervine (38) was having no such trouble in his 23-ball innings with one enormous maximum almost reaching the balcony of adjacent flats.

And Smith (11 not out) played an important late cameo from just four balls with Hampshire falling just short of the 180 target that looked well on the cards after 10 overs.

Wood (two for 36) marked his return from injury by collecting the wicket of Machan as Taylor took an easy catch at mid-on to make the early breakthrough.

The dangerous Luke Wright (23) looked in blistering form but departed when Adams took an excellent catch running back to cling on as the ball dropped from a great height over his shoulder.

But Sussex stayed in touch reaching the midway point at 87 for two, after debutant Taylor went for 16 from his first over in t20.

Rory Hamilton-Brown (34) was bowled by Smith but Ed Joyce and Ben Brown kept the momentum going as the two sides were locked together at the 14-over stage on 120 for three.

That effectively left it as a six-over shoot-out for victory.

When Smith struck again to remove Brown (19) the game swayed towards the visitors.

It seemed effectively game over in the penultimate over as Joyce was bowled by Wood after a fine 56.

And Kyle Abbott finished the job to seal the win.