Howell and Dawson script crushing win
Hampshire 307 for 6 beat Northamptonshire 133 by 174 runs
Benny Howell blasted an explosive half-century as the Hampshire Royals demolished the Northamptonshire Steelbacks by 174 runs in the Clydesdale Bank 40 Group B match at Wantage Road.
Howell smashed an unbeaten 84 runs off just 54 balls, including six fours and three sixes as the Royals piled on 307 for six from their 40 overs. Liam Dawson weighed in with 70, while David Lucas took five for 48 - his first five-wicket haul in one-day cricket.
The Steelbacks were woeful in response as they collapsed to 133 all out with Ben Howgego absent hurt as Chris Wood took three for 34 and only captain Andrew Hall's 44 not out provided any resistance. The Royals won the toss and chose to bat and they started confidently before losing James Vince for 38 off 23 balls when he chipped Lucas straight to David Willey at extra cover.
Lucas then accounted for Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams for 23 when he was caught by Willey at deep extra cover before he trapped Michael Carberry leg before wicket for a single. Former Zimbabwe international Sean Ervine bludgeoned 38 off 34 deliveries before launching James Middlebrook to Willey at long-off.
Dawson reached 50 off 48 balls by smashing James Middlebrook for six over midwicket before he perished by top-edging Lucas to Evans at short third man.
Dimitri Mascarenhas smashed 26 off just 16 balls before giving Lucas his five-for by launching him to substitute Rob Keogh at long-on. Howell then completed his half-century off 44 balls as the hosts conceded their highest total in a 40-over match.
Chasing a mammoth 308, the Steelbacks lost Mal Loye in just the third ball of their reply when he was pinned lbw by David Griffiths before Rob White (six) swept Mascarenhas to Dawson at deep square leg.
The hosts' wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien walked on 22 as he mistimed his scoop shot off Wood and was easily caught by Ervine at backward point. Rob Newton (22) was next to fall when he chipped Wood to Vince at midwicket, before the same bowler bowled Middlebrook for a six-ball duck.
Chaminda Vaas (one) continued the Steelbacks' miserable procession when he was caught by Ervine at slip off Mascarenhas. Ervine was brought on in the 17th over and he forced both Willey (one) and Lucas (four) to edge to Royals wicketkeeper Michael Bates.
With Howgego not fit enough to bat, the final nail in the coffin was hammered down when Luke Evans (18) launched Imran Tahir to Wood at long-on, sealing the hosts' second-heaviest defeat in one-day cricket.