South African Aiden Markram stars as Hampshire continue flawless start to Royal London One-Day Cup defence
Aiden Markram produced a stunning all-round performance as Hampshire made it a hat-trick of wins to begin their Royal London One Day Cup defence.
The South African opener, who is warming up for this summer’s World Cup, crashed 88 with the bat as Adrian Birrell’s men posted 301-9 at the Ageas Bowl.
He then collected figures of three for 39 with his part-time off-spin as Hampshire ran out 119-run winners.
Liam Dawson and Kyle Abbott also posted exceptional figures of 3-37 and 3-36 respectively, with the hosts winning with 80 balls to spare.
The Royal One-Day Cup holders Hampshire have now beaten Kent, Glamorgan and Middlesex to leap to the top of the South Group, while it was a first defeat of the campaign for Middlesex.
The hosts were stuck in under grey skies and were restricted to 301-9.
In response, Markram’s compatriot Kyle Abbott broke through twice in the first five overs of the chase as he had Paul Sterling leg before and then Dawid Malan caught at point by James Fuller.
John Simpson and England ODI and T20 captain Eoin Morgan rebuilt with a free-flowing 65-run stand for the third wicket.
But Markram entered fresh from his excellent fifty earlier on to forge a collapse – with Simpson, Morgan and Nick Gubbins all falling within six overs.
Simpson was stumped after some fantastic glovework from Tom Alsop.
Meanwhile, Morgan was given two lives when he offered a couple of chances to Rilee Rossouw on the boundary before picking out Abbott at short-fine leg.
Gubbins then cut to Sam Northeast and George Scott was castled by Dawson – leaving Middlesex 121 for six.
Left-arm spinner Dawson found Tom Helm skying to Gareth Berg in the ring and then Nathan Sowter caught behind.
Abbott claimed his third wicket when Steve Eskinazi picked out Northeast at mid-wicket before Mason Crane wrapped up the win when Tim Murtagh was bowled.
Middlesex seamer Helm had led the visitor’s attack with a five-wicket haul on a used pitch – which had played slightly slower than against Glamorgan on Good Friday.
Following on from his 130 not out against Glamorgan, Alsop went out at a rate of knots – striking three sumptuous cut shots to the boundary.
But he fell soon after as he chased a wide delivery from the parsimonious Murtagh and was caught behind, before James Vince handed Helm his first with a steepling top edge.
Markram scored a stylish run-a-ball half century in a 58-run stand with Northeast.
But the pair fell within an over of each other. The South African was on 88 when he frustratingly misjudged a pull to mid-on and the latter lbw to Nathan Sowter – leaving Hampshire looking below par at 145 for four.
Rossouw and Dawson steadied and accelerated with an 81-run partnership for the fifth-wicket, the South African collected his 32nd List A fifty – from 49 balls.
Dawson was well caught by Murtagh running around to short fine leg off a top edge before Helm returned to cause carnage.
The 24-year-old fast bowler ripped through Rossouw and Gareth Berg in consecutive balls before completing a stunning four wickets in eight balls with the scalps of Kyle Abbott and James Fuller – the latter having smashed a quick-fire 26.
Chris Wood took Hampshire over 300 with a sweetly struck six over square-leg to set their opposition 302 to win.