Carberry casts off England snub
Hampshire 171 for 7 (Carberry 73, Adams 47, Bollinger 3-19) beat Kent 149 for 4 (Key 89*, Briggs 3-28)by 22 runs
Indignation is often a tonic and on the day when his international career all but evaporated into the early summer sunshine, Michael Carberry channelled such vexation into clubbing a half-century that provided the footing for Hampshire's third successive NatWest T20 Blast victory.
Carberry was one of the few players to exhibit any sort of defiance during a chastening winter, producing some stubborn displays at the top of the order, but after a lean start to the domestic season he was overlooked by England's new management regime for the first Test of the summer.
In one-day cricket, his mood is strikingly more aggressive. He bludgeoned and swatted Kent's bowlers with typical disdain and in such mood Hampshire will be appreciative for his additional availability.
They have been the standard-bearers in the domestic Twenty20 competitions - reaching five successive Finals Days, emerging triumphant in two - and they used all their nous to foil the visitors' admirable chase, spearheaded by Rob Key's unbeaten 89.
Key, Kent's captain, anchored the innings, carrying his bat in the process, but received little support as the weight of runs on the board proved too much. That Hampshire were able to defend what Key deemed a "gettable score" was ultimately down to their bowling with the left-arm spin of Danny Briggs, who took three wickets, again to the fore, but it was Carberry who got them there in the first place.
As others came and went, his typically powerful blows provided the backbone of a disjointed innings. Carberry's endeavours on the county circuit originally attracted the selectors rather late in the day and this was another striking contribution. He started tentatively - dealing in singles during the powerplay overs as Jimmy Adams assumed the role of aggressor - but soon hit his straps, slashing Mitchell Claydon through backward point for his first boundary of ten.
He was eventually bowled for 73 from 58 balls by Doug Bollinger, whose figures of 3 for 19 deserved to keep Hampshire in check
While Carberry will take the plaudits, Adams' exploits furnished Hampshire's innings with momentum after skipper James Vince elected to bat first. Adams is somewhat unorthodox, possessing an almost baseball-like stanc, but he was typically wristy in his approach as he worked the ball around the large outfield.
His ability to crash the ball to the ropes was particularly impressive as he took Darren Stevens for three successive boundaries before depositing the offspin of Adam Riley into the members. His departure in the tenth over, for a brilliantly composed 47 off just 26 balls, allowed Carberry to take centre stage.
He had all the swagger and panache that underpinned his rise into the England set-up as he thrashed James Tredwell and then Stevens through cover and down the ground respectively in stand-and-deliver fashion. No bowler was exempt; Doug Bollinger was heaved over square-leg for a maximum but it was the Australian who had the last laugh though, uprooting Carberry's middle stump.
A couple of boundaries from Chris Wood and Will Smith lifted Hants but it was their work with the ball that proved decisive. Key apart, Kent struggled to get on top of the opposition as Vince juggled his bowling options to great effect.
Key and Sam Northeast put on 89 in Kent's reply but Notheast was caught at gully for 35 just as he threatened to accelerate and Darren Stevens, dropped by Ervine in the deep with his first ball, failed to make the most of his life as Briggs cleaned him up with his second.
Hampshire's lead at the top of the South Group is now four points and it would take a brave punter to overlook them.