Hampshire maintain perfect record
Hampshire 165 for 4 (McKenzie 89*) beat Gloucestershire 156 for 6 (Gidman 43*) by nine runs
Hampshire Royals made it five wins from five in the Friends Life t20 with a nine-run victory over winless Gloucestershire Gladiators at Archdeacon Meadow.
Neil McKenzie led the Royals to 165 for 4 with an unbeaten 89 from 53 balls, while left-arm spinner Ed Young took 2 for 14 in his four overs.
Home captain Alex Gidman top scored with 43 not out in the Gladiators' reply of 156 for 6, and there were useful contributions from Hamish Marshall (33) and Kane Williamson (28), but they still fell short of their target.
After being put into bat, the Royals lost the wickets of Michael Lumb, run out by Marshall's direct hit, and James Vince, bowled by Muttiah Muralitharan, in struggling to 10 for 2 in the third over. James Adams and McKenzie revived the innings with a partnership of 51 in six overs, which ended when the former, on 22, reverse-swept Young to Ian Saxelby at short third man.
Sean Ervine struck Williamson for six over midwicket during a stand of 56 in eight overs with McKenzie. But the Zimbabwean all-rounder departed for 21 in the 17th over when he holed out to Ian Cockbain at long-on to give Young his second wicket.
McKenzie's 33-ball half-century contained seven fours and the South African struck a further four fours and two sixes, both over midwicket, in his impressive innings. Dimitri Mascarenhas weighed in with an unbeaten 17 off 12 deliveries, but Hampshire's total was no better than average on the small King's School ground.
Ireland World Cup star Kevin O'Brien got the Gladiators' innings off to a rapid start with 22 from 12 balls before he swung across the line and was bowled by Chris Wood. Marshall cracked 33 from 26 deliveries, including two sixes, but then fell leg before to Royals skipper Dominic Cork in the 10th over with the total on 78.
The game started to swing Hampshire's way in the next five overs as the scoring rate slowed and left-arm spinner Danny Briggs accounted for Cockbain, lbw, and Williamson, who hit a full toss to Vince on the midwicket boundary.
Alex Gidman put the outcome back in the balance by striking three fours and a six in the next two overs, which realised 30 runs. His brother, Will, fell lbw to Cork and Young was caught at long-on off Wood in the 19th over. That left the Gladiators needing 17 to win off the last over, but Cork bowled it superbly to concede only seven runs to Gidman and Jon Lewis.