Hampshire clinch tense four-wicket win
Hampshire 177 for 6 (Ervine 46, Carberry 45, Lumb 45) beat Surrey 175 for 6 (Razzaq 65, Ramprakash 60) by four wickets
Ian Harvey's double-wicket, single-run final over in Surrey's 175 for 6 ultimately proved crucial for Hampshire, who pulled a tense run chase at The Oval with four wickets and six balls to spare. Powered to a very competitive total thanks to sprightly fifties from Mark Ramprakash and Abdul Razzaq, Surrey's spin attack - led by Saqlain Mushtaq's 3 for 24 - threatened to derail a flashy chase but Gary Lamb held his nerve to finish the affair with some brave hits in the 19th over. The foundation of the chase, Hampshire's third win in the Twenty20 Cup, centred around starring contributions from Michael Lumb, Michael Carberry and Sean Ervine.
Hampshire, despite losing Harvey in the first over, were handed a rapid start. Lumb was the aggressor, teeing off at a rate of knots against Chris Jordan and Pedro Collins. A sweetly-timed clip off his toes gave him his only six, but nine boundaries made up a 21-ball 45 that set the ball rolling. Jordan twice dropped short and was slashed either side of point before Lumb took three more boundaries off Collins' second over with some crisp hitting.
Saqlain's introduction stemmed the tide somewhat. Attempting to clip him over the infield Lumb inside-edged back onto his stumps and Saqlain added Chris Benham for 6 to leave Hampshire 71 for 3 after eight overs. Carberry, a spectator while Lumb went ballistic, swept Saqlain for four to move into double figures and, partnered by Ervine, forged another crucial partnership of 57. Collins' comeback over, the 11th, went for 22 and proved key in the Hampshire's chase. Carberry picked up fours off the first two balls and Ervine deposited a free hit over long-on and flicked another four past short fine-leg.
Surrey's decision to pick three spinners almost worked. Trying to blast a wide one from Chris Schofield, Carberry was smartly stumped for a 33-ball 45, and when Nic Pothas also departed with the score 128, Surrey seemed to have clawed their way back in. Ervine, however, had other ideas and swatted two more massive sixes. He became Saqlain's third wicket at 164 for 6 but Lamb, with an unbeaten 22 off 15 balls, sealed the match off with final ball of the 19th over. Ervine's 46 from 27 balls had been central to the chase.
A few more runs and the contest could have gone Surrey's way. But that miserly one-run over from Harvey, including the wickets of Razzaq and Jonathan Batty, proved huge. Removing Razzaq for 34-ball 65 first ball, attempting his sixth six, Harvey then removed Batty next ball and a series of cunning cutters and yorkers yielded just a single.
That was a blemish in an otherwise solid Surrey innings. Electing to bat after the forecast showers stayed away, the hosts were jolted in the first over as Alistair Brown, promoted to open in place of James Benning (back injury), edged his first ball from Nantie Hawyard to Harvey at slip and Scott Newman was cleaned up by Billy Taylor soon afterwards.
A clean-hitting cameo from Usman Afzaal (19 off 18) made way for a 90-run stand between Ramprakash and Razzaq. Ramprakash has struggled for runs in recent weeks, but here produced a lively effort. Beginning with smart singles into the open spaces, he didn't refrain from putting away the bad deliveries, as a couple punchy boundaries through the offside and a meaty pull indicated.
After ten overs Surrey were 74 for 3. Then Razzaq turned on the power. Opening up with a rasping cut off Hayward in the 13th over, he made the most of a sharp return drop off Lumb and slammed boundaries off Hamza Riazuddin, the young right-arm seamer. Hayward was singled out for some harsh treatment, especially: the first two deliveries of his final over went for lovely, high-elbow sixes just below and above the press box. Ramprakash, having raised his fifty off 39 balls, added six more to the over before he was caught and bowled for 60.
Razzaq, dropped on 47 at long-off, brought up his own fifty off 29 balls with the help of a couple more sixes. That's when Harvey, with all of his experience, cut him off and bowled the decisive over of the match.
Jamie Alter is a staff writer at Cricinfo