All-rounder Dawson, so unlucky in many eyes not to be included in England’s preliminary World Cup squad, continued fine early season form by hitting a 93-ball 108 in Hampshire’s 307 all out and then taking two for 39 with his accurate left-arm spin as Surrey were dismissed in reply for 254 in 46.2 overs.
Dawson, who hit four sixes and seven fours, now has 232 runs at an average of 46.40 in the competition so far, plus 13 wickets at just 18.00 from his 59 overs bowled, at an econony rate of just under four runs per over. If England’s one-day team needs him over the next couple of months, he is clearly ready.
Watched by John Emburey, a member of England’s scouting panel with particular responsibility for monitoring spinners, 29-year-old Dawson came in at number six with Hampshire stuttering somewhat at 124 for four after being put in by injury-weakened Surrey.
Tom Alsop had gone early for a duck, well caught at slip by Rory Burns off Stuart Meaker, and after some glorious shots – one of his five fours was a magnificent back foot force through mid off – James Vince was bowled for 28 by a superb ball from Meaker that beat the batsman’s forward defensive to clip the top of off stump.
Sam Northeast played nicely for 24 before being bowled by a Ryan Patel nip-backer that looked to have caught a thin inside edge before disturbing the stumps and Rilee Rossouw was also castled by medium pacer Patel, making his List A debut, for 14.
Meaker, the pick of Surrey’s seamers with 3 for 58, later sent back Gareth Berg for 15, caught in the deep, but was withdrawn from the attack when sending down a second full toss over waist high towards the end of his ninth over.
By then Dawson had rallied Hampshire, initially in a partnership of 77 in 14 overs for the fifth wicket with the impressive South African opener Aiden Markram, whose 88 from 90 balls featured nine fours.
Markram eventually fell to a good running catch at deep mid wicket off Will Jacks’ off spin and paceman Conor McKerr, who had suffered earlier at the hands of Vince, who hit him for three fours in one over, returned strongly to snap up three lower order wickets – first that of Aneurin Donald for 12 and then James Fuller and Kyle Abbott in successive balls.
Dawson, who reached three figures with a four swatted past mid on off McKerr, flipped Jordan Clark’s seam-up for six behind square leg at the start of the final over before being caught on the boundary from the next ball.
Surrey’s reply only really threatened when openers Mark Stoneman and Jacks put on 66 with some ease – Jacks playing one gorgeous straight drive for four and then flicking fast bowler Brad Wheal almost contemptuously for six to wide long leg.
Dawson, who had been brought on to bowl the 11th over, made the breakthrough in his second over when he turned one enough to have Jacks caught at the wicket for 29.
Dean Elgar got himself into a tangle against a short ball from Fuller on five and gloved a catch to keeper Alsop, and Stoneman’s excellent 70 off 68 balls, with a six and 10 fours, ended tamely when he miscued Markram’s off spin to point.
A promising 19 from Ben Foakes also finished in disappointing fashion when, aiming towards mid on against Berg’s medium pace, he lobbed a catch to mid off.
Dawson struck again when he had Burns caught for 38 in his penultimate over and, with 132 more runs still needed from the last 15 overs, the Surrey innings slid to 202 for eight, as Abbott and Fuller whittled their way through the lower order, before some defiant late blows from Freddie van den Bergh and especially Meaker, who flipped an extraordinary six over the keeper’s head off Abbott before holing out on the cover boundary next ball for 27.
Hampshire have now won five of their six group matches and are close to securing qualification to the knock-out stages.