Vince fires unbeaten 99 as Hampshire dislodge Kent at the top
Hampshire 187 for 4 (Vince 99*) beat Kent 183 for 5 (Northeast 54, Blake 49*) by six wickets
Hampshire's James Vince hit an unbeaten 99 and made light of a double-digit asking rate to fire Hampshire to the top of South Group with a six-wicket win over previous leaders Kent Spitfires.
In pursuit of 184 at a required rate of 10.22 in a game reduced to 18 overs per side by an early evening thunderstorm, Vince, the tall England Lions right-hander, clattered a season's competition best 99 not out from 57 balls to see Hampshire home at a misty Canterbury with one delivery to spare.
The visitors had made a poor start to their reply when Michael Carberry fenced at the fourth ball of the reply from Matt Coles to edge to Spitfires' keeper Ryan Davies, making his T20 debut behind the stumps.
Davies was in the action again in Coles' next over, tumbling to his right to take a bottom-edged catch that dismissed Jimmy Adams for 16 as Hampshire reached 46 for 2 after their Powerplay.
As fog descended on the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Hampshire had 75 on the scoreboard when Owais Shah walked across his stumps aiming for the short, mid-wicket boundary only to miss out and go lbw to Darren Stevens.
But with first-choice bowlers David Griffiths and Calum Haggett out injured, Kent's threadbare attack struggled in the middle overs as Hampshire's Sean Ervine and Vince raised their side's hundred after 10.2 overs to maintain the asking rate.
Vince reached a 36-ball 50 and celebrated by clubbing his third six of the night over mid-wicket off deposed England spinner James Tredwell, but Ervine's stay ended for 36 when he clipped Adam Ball to long off to conclude a stand that added 58 in 5.1 overs.
Vince ploughed on however, plundering a fourth six off Ball that endangered the staff in a mobile burger bar positioned near the Old Dover Road as Hampshire edged home for a fourth win in six starts.
Batting first after winning their fourth successive T20 toss, Kent's Joe Denly opened his boundary account with an on-drive to the ropes against Fidel Edwards, who responded next ball with a yorker that pegged back Denly's leg stump and sent the right-hander packing for six.
Sam Northeast, the competition's leading run-scorer going into the game, found his range with consecutive fours off left-arm spinner Danny Briggs to take Kent to 47 for 1 after their shortened, five-over Powerplay but, without addition to the score, Daniel Bell-Drummond missed a leg-side clip to be bowled by Yasir Arafat's first ball of the night.
Fabian Cowdrey moved to 13 with a rasping cover drive for four against Danny Briggs but, he missed an attempted cut to the left-arm spinner's next ball to be bowled and leave Spitfires on 77 for 3 at the mid-point of their innings.
Northeast launched a six over extra cover on his way to a 29-ball half-century - his fourth time past 50 in seven south group starts this season - but, four balls later, he holed out to long on to give Edwards a second scalp.
Alex Blake and Stevens upped the tempo with a brace of sixes, the second of which took an out-of-sorts Stevens to 23 - his highest score in this season's Blast event - but two runs later Stevens skied to long-off.
Blake, who hit an unbeaten 71 off 30 balls in last month's reverse fixture at the Ageas Bowl, took 21 off Arafat's final over and a further two boundaries against Edwards took him to an unbeaten 49 from 25 balls and his side to 183 for 5.