T20 Blast: Captain’s knock from Vince keeps the Hampshire Royals alive and kicking


In a T20 world full of the glitz, glamour and outrageous shots, James Vince proved classic cricket still has its place with a magnificent 66* to help Hampshire Royals win by eight wickets against Middlesex.

Middlesex: 153-5: de Villiers 53* (34) & Crane (2-22)

Hampshire: 155-2: Vince 66* (55) & Stirling (1-6)

Hampshire Royals win by eight wickets

James Vince helped Hampshire to a convincing eight-wicket victory over Middlesex in their penultimate group stage match of the campaign. Hampshire chased down 154 for victory after AB de Villiers effortlessly elevated the visitors to a par score, thanks to his 53 not out.

Vince’s 66* was the constant thorn in the Middlesex bowling attack; in a knock full of classic cricketing strokes, the Hampshire captain displayed his natural and innate ability with the bat and perhaps reminded England to not write off his international chances just yet.

Middlesex elected to bat first in what was a crunch fixture for both counties. If Hampshire were defeated, it would spell the end of any lingering hopes of reaching the latter stages of the competition; if the visitors lost, they would remain afloat but be left relying on other results.

Before a ball was bowled at the Ageas, the London-based outfit sat fifth, one spot and one point behind the automatic qualifying spots. Meanwhile, the Royals found themselves seventh; within touching distance of the top four, providing they won their final home match of the T20 Blast.

However, if the home side were to win, they would have to halt the Middlesex stunning batting brigade. Eoin Morgan, AB de Villiers, Mohammad Hafeez and Malan were all part of an explosive line-up that could simply snatch the game away from any opposition.

After witnessing turgid and slow pitches so far this season at the Ageas Bowl, the Middlesex openers of Paul Sterling (24) and Dawid Malan (23) appeared to be batting on a good track. The former, usually a perfect foil to their many gun batsmen, was particularly positive and looked to utilise the powerplay to his advantage. Middlesex were 52-1 after six overs and were certainly on course to post an above-par total.

Spin came into the equation during the middle overs and resulted in a cork being put in the visitor’s flow. Leg spin from both ends was successfully working in tandem and aided the Royals’ fightback. Mason Crane (2-22) grabbed Hafeez and Malan in quick succession whilst overseas star Tabraiz Shamsi was initially economical.

At the halfway mark of the Middlesex innings, two titans of cricket met in the middle. de Villiers came together with World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan. Spectators and players alike were under no illusion that the partnership could prove decisive in the grand context of the game and perhaps their seasons.

But just two and a bit overs later, 13 was Eoin Morgan’s unlucky number as Shamsi wrapped him around the pads. The dismissal left Middlesex 90-4; advantage Hampshire.

Unfortunately for the Royals, they still faced one of the modern greats. When can you not expect to see fireworks when AB de Villiers is at the crease?

The South African did what he seems to do on a freakish occurrence and propelled the London side’s innings with an effortless yet brutal display of power-hitting. Successive sixes off Shamsi was the highlight of his assault, dispatching his compatriot with alarming ease. His 52 not out was vital in Middlesex getting over 150, only the second time a side had reached that total at the Ageas Bowl this season. The south coast outfit were set 154 for victory.


AB de Villiers remained 52* at the conclusion of the 20 overs – Photo: @Middlesex_CCC/Twitter

With their T20 season on a knife-edge, Aneurin Donald returned after being sidelined with concussion and led from the front. There was more than ample support from James Vince, who followed Donald in tow. The powerplay amassed 54 runs without the loss of a wicket.

At the midway point, the Royals were 91 for no loss with both openers approaching their fifty. It was a fantastic display of how to open the batting in a T20 match, going up and down the gears with aplomb.

It was bittersweet for Donald after he reached his half-century from 31 balls. A ball later, the Welshman cut Paul Stirling’s off-spin straight to gully.

In mercurial James Vince fashion, he went through to his fifty in a more subdued 43 balls. Showcasing the supreme skills he has to offer, it becomes even more of a mystery as to why Vince cannot translate his almighty talent onto the international arena.

Vince saw Hampshire home with a 66 not out and more than two overs to spare. His vital knock ensured his side go into their last fixture with a chance of reaching the knockout stages.

Hampshire and Middlesex both return to action in under 24 hours, where they travel to Glamorgan and Somerset respectively with all hopes pinned on the final match.

Hampshire Royals: Vince (c), Donald, Rossouw, Northeast, Dawson, Fuller, McManus (Wk), Abbott, Wood, Shamsi, Crane.

Middlesex: Malan (c), Stirling, Morgan, de Villiers, Hafeez, Scott, Simpson (Wk), Roland-Jones, Helm, Sowter, Finn.


About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

Comments are closed.