Carberry duck as Shah helps easy win
Hampshire 146 for 2 (Vince 57*, Shah 50*) beat Essex 145 for 5 (Foakes 43) by eight wickets
Hampshire claimed a quite unexpectedly straightforward victory even though Michael Carberry, so often their match-winning performer in limited-overs cricket, was out of sorts. Doubtless he would wish to have another innings in the one-day series between England and Sri Lanka but Hampshire did not even have to seek his release from involvement at Lord's. Given that Alastair Cook was properly fit again, he was indeed surplus to international requirements.
So Carberry journeyed back to the south coast, only to prod around the crease uncertainly even before he swung Matt Salisbury to deep-square leg. He had not scored. Fortunately for Hampshire, who know their conditions and not least a slow pitch, James Vince is in rather better form. Jimmy Adams, free from the responsibilities of captaincy in this form of the game, was soon driving through the covers to good effect and Owais Shah was in the touch of his salad days. His unbeaten half-century included three fours and three sixes against Essex, his former county.
An unattractive lunge at the same bowler resulted in Adams' dismissal, the ball spooning up to midwicket, but Vince, who may well be regarded as a better bet for England - both in the one-day game and Test cricket - in the years to come, reached a half century off 42 balls with three fours and two sixes, altogether making batting appear a more simple affair than anything that had gone before. Shah, whose fielding earlier had not been altogether sound, gave him ideal support. One swept six off Salisbury was worth the admission in itself. Hampshire won with as many as 16 balls to spare.
On a sluggish pitch on which the ball initially did not come onto the bat - although bowlers such as Matt Coles are so adept at slower deliveries these days that it is not always easy to gauge - Essex fell some 30 runs short of what they would have reckoned on achieving. Put in, they only properly dominated a varied attack when Ben Foakes was in partnership with James Foster.
Foakes is talented, make no mistake. Even if one did, Graham Gooch, who rates him highly, would correct anyone uninformed. One extra cover drive off Danny Briggs, who was bowling with customary control, was the classiest shot of the innings. When he fell through a leading edge that was held at mid-off, he had made 43 off 34 balls.
Foster, whose six over extra-cover off Sean Ervine was the best improvised shot of the night, was unbeaten with 29 from as many balls when Essex ran out of overs. Indeed, the final blow, a pulled six by Tim Phillips off Coles, who might perhaps have been better off completing his spell from the Pavilion end, where he had maintained exemplary control, gave the total more of a respectable look.
Other than that, Jesse Ryder was soon caught at third man, Tom Westley swung across the line at Briggs and was bowled, Mark Pettini was bowled by Will Smith lying back and attempting to drive through the off side ring, and Greg Smith was stumped by Adam Wheater off Briggs. Not a particularly distinguished innings, but then run-making appeared to be an exacting task at times. At least it did until Vince came to the wicket. The margin of victory was quite beyond what Essex would have anticipated, given they were unbeaten in this south group. For Hampshire, there is no over-reliance on Carberry.