sport

Hampshire cruise past Kent

Hampshire cruised to a 47-run away win over South Group rivals Kent to cement their place in the NatWest T20 Blast qualification places.

Full value for their seventh win of the campaign, Hampshire posted a competitive 173 for nine then rolled over the misfiring Spitfires for 126 to win with eight balls to spare.

Hampshire's victory in Canterbury all but put paid to Kent's hopes of making the knock-out phase as they suffered a sixth defeat in 10 starts.

Hampshire made an electric start to the game as James Vince smashed the first ball of the night from Darren Stevens for four only to feather the next to wicketkeeper Sam Billings.

Michael Carberry teed off in Stevens' next over, smashing three fours and a six from successive deliveries before holing out to Adam Ball on the ropes at deep mid-wicket to make it 37 for two.

After clubbing three fours in his short stay, Jimmy Adams nicked an airy drive against Mitchell Claydon through to the keeper to leave Hampshire on 62 for three at the end of the powerplay.

Glenn Maxwell (13) looked set for big things after lofting Ball for a maximum only to miscue part-time seamer Ben Harmison into the hands of long-on.

Sean Ervine and Will Smith regrouped in adding 50 for the fifth wicket in 6.2 overs, the highlight of which was Ervine's sublime lofted extra-cover drive for six off Adam Riley.

Kent broke the stand in the 15th over when Smith (37) chopped on when attempting to cut against Ball, ending a partnership of 69 in 8.2 overs.

Chris Wood was sent back when attempting an impossible single to mid-wicket and was run out then Kyle Abbott, making room to his first delivery, was bowled by James Tredwell as the visitors lost three for three.

Ervine was three short of his first T20 fifty of the campaign when he lost his leg stump to a yorker from Claydon, the pick of Kent's attack in a four-over stint of two for 26 that ended with the run-out of Matt Coles (29), in his first match at Canterbury since leaving Kent last season.

Kent made a sluggish start to their pursuit, losing Daniel Bell-Drummond for one to a sliced drive to cover against Wood. Sam Northeast (15) followed suit off the bowling of Coles, leaving Kent in trouble at 38 for two after their powerplay - 24 behind the same stage of Hampshire's innings.

Having struggled to find his timing, Fabian Cowdrey's 22 from 27 balls ended with a stumping by Michael Bates and at the mid-point, Kent required a further 109 from 10 overs.

Acting captain Stevens attempted to accelerate by slog-sweeping Smith for six but, in trying to repeat the feat, he skied to the keeper to go for 23 and - at 74 for four - the Spitfires' victory hopes effectively went with him.

With 60 required from the last five overs, Billings (19) drove to extra cover, Alex Blake (26) miscued to long-on and Ball, Harmison, Claydon and Riley all had their stumps rearranged at the tail end of a limp run chase.