HAMPSHIRE’s Natwest T20 Blast campaign got off to the worst possible start as they lost at home to Glamorgan after Liam Dawson limped off.
Not for the first time, Danny Briggs excelled with the ball as Hampshire recovered from a shaky start to restrict Glamorgan to 161-7 after winning the toss.
But Hampshire still lost by ten runs despite a career-best knock from Matt Coles, who hit three leg-side sixes in a 29-ball 42 on his T20 debut for the county.
All-rounder Coles, who also took two important wickets with his slower balls, hit his treble of maximums early on to help Hampshire recover from 68-3 at halfway (they were effectively four down with Dawson having to retire hurt in his first game as Neil McKenzie’s replacement at No.4). But the game was up before he was yorked by the penultimate delivery.
Hampshire were not helped by a poor start with bat and ball.
Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams both departed in the final over of a powerplay that yielded 42-2 (Glamorgan were 51-1 after their first six overs). Memories of the historic 2010 final were revived when Carberry returned to the fray as Dawson’s runner, before the pain became too much. James Vince (38), in his first game as Hampshire’s youngest post-war captain, looked more than capable of guiding Hampshire to their target when he launched Andrew Salter’s off-spin for six over mid-off, only to miss the next delivery.
Then Coles followed his first six against slow left-armer Dean Cosker with two in four balls against Will Owen’s medium pace.
Sean Ervine (27) provided hope with three successive boundaries against Cosker but then he missed a slower ball as only three came off the 17th over.
Hampshire still needed 22 when Will Smith was run out after being sent back by Coles with ten balls remaining.
And Graham Wagg’s last over ensured there would be no more Coles heroics.
Hampshire did well to ensure they were only chasing an eight-an-over target after a bad start.
Michael Bates showed the worth of a specialist wicketkeeper with two outstanding stumpings in successive Briggs overs to account for the Glamorgan openers. Hampshire were missing Dimi Mascarenhas as they conceded 30 from the first three overs. But their spin trio dragged them back into the game. Briggs (3-26) was particularly impressive as Glamorgan were restricted to only 37 off the last five overs. Dawson continued his excellent LV County Championship form and Smith showed why he went at less than a run-a-ball with his off-spin for Durham last year.
Kyle Abbott impressed with his yorkers in his penultimate over but only once before has he conceded more than 43 off four T20 overs.
Hampshire can only get better. Their next T20 match is at Sussex on Friday.
Hampshire are now without Dawson as well as England’s Michael Carberry at Leicestershire in the Championship over the next four days.