Vince admits Hampshire are ‘outplayed’ as Sussex cruise to sixth successive ‘El Classicoast’ T20 Blast victory

James Vince admitted Hampshire were ‘outplayed’ as they slumped to a sixth successive ‘El Classicoast’ T20 Blast defeat against Sussex.

Sunday, 13th June 2021, 9:52 am
Phil Salt hits out against Hampshire. Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images.

Phil Salt and Ravi Bopara made unbeaten half-centuries as the hosts romped to a nine-wicket victory at Hove last night, writes BRUCE TALBOT.

Yet again, Hampshire were made to pay for failing to put enough runs on the board after Vince had won the toss and elected to bat.

Sixteen-year-old leg-spinner Archie Lenham took 3-14 as Hampshire were restricted to 154-7 before Phil Salt (72 not out) and Bopara (56 not out) eased Sussex to their target with 22 balls to spare.

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Ravi Bopara on his way to an unbeaten half century against Hampshire. Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images.

On such a good batting pitch Hampshire needed early wickets to have any chance and, although Ian Holland picked up Travis Head (23) in the fourth over, Salt and Bopara matched each other shot for shot in an exhilarating stand of 118 off just 74 balls.

Salt, who made an unbeaten 77 in Friday’s win over Gloucestershire, followed it up with 72 from 44 balls including five sixes and five fours.

Bopara’s first half-century since joining Sussex in 2020 was made off 42 deliveries, with a six and five fours.

Vince employed seven bowlers and, while Mason Crane offered some control, Salt and Bopara did much as they pleased against the rest of the attack.

Hampshire's Joe Weatherley fields in the deep as flames light up the pavilion during the T20 Blast match between Sussex Sharks and Hampshire Hawks. Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images.

Their partnership has only been bettered three times in Sussex’s T20 history.

It was also a special night for man of the match Lenham, who had become the second-youngest debutant in T20 history in Sussex’s win over Gloucestershire the previous day.

The teenager, whose father Neil and grandfather Les both played for the county, picked up a wicket with his first ball when Tom Alsop (18) holed out to deep mid-wicket.

Lewis McManus (15) fell in similar fashion in Lenham’s second over and wicketkeeper Salt smartly stumped Joe Weatherley (14) to give the teenager his third success.

Lewis McManus hits out while Sussex's Philip Salt watches on. Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images.

It was a wicket Lenham particularly enjoyed, having dropped Weatherley first ball before he came on to bowl.

Salt also produced a stunning one-handed catch behind the stumps to remove Liam Dawson.

The Hawks had been restricted to 35-1 in the powerplay and lost D’Arcy Short to the excellent George Garton, who returned to pick up Holland (11) and finish with 2-11.

Vince – who top scored with 81 when Hampshire last beat Sussex in the T20 Blast, at Hove in 2017, had looked in the mood, cruising to 36 off 26 balls before he was bowled trying to heave Will Beer through the leg side.

Hampshire struggled for momentum after his departure and, although James Fuller (26 not out) produced a cameo at the end which took his side past 150, it never looked enough on a good batting surface.

It was Hampshire’s ninth T20 Blast group defeat in their last 12 completed games, stretching back to the start of last season’s campaign.

‘Credit to Sussex, they outplayed us from the start,’ said Vince.

‘It was a good wicket and I felt we were 20-30 runs short. When two quality players like Salty and Ravi get going it can be hard to drag it back.

‘We were under par and we're looking for more runs from our top order as we get further into the competition.

‘If we can get a couple of guys making scores of 50-plus as Sussex had it makes things much easier.’

Hampshire return to action against Middlesex at Radlett next Tuesday.

The Seaaxes have lost both their opening two games.