McKenzie guides Hampshire to victory
Hampshire 177 for 8 beat Leicestershire 176 for 8
Neil McKenzie used all his experience gleaned over a long career in international cricket with South Africa to guide Hampshire to a two-wicket win over Leicestershire in their Clydesdale Bank 40 at the Rose Bowl. As wickets tumbled around him, McKenzie held firm with an unbeaten 51 to help his side get home with 13 balls to spare in a rain-affected match.
Leicestershire, choosing to bat first, made 176 for 8 from their allotment of 35 overs, rain having knocked five from their total available. With McKenzie in control, Hampshire reached their target in 32.5 overs, keeping alive their hopes of qualifying for the latter stages of the CB40 competition.
Leicestershire struggled to get going with Hampshire captain Dominic Cork taking two wickets before rain came and on the resumption Jacques du Toit and Matt Boyce contrived the best partnership of the innings, 71, for the fourth wicket. Du Toit was caught at mid-wicket for a valiant 45 and Boyce made 37 before he became a victim for Benny Howell, a 21-year-old allrounder making his Hampshire debut.
Hampshire's young side contained eight players who had come through their academy system and one of those, left arm pace bowler Chris Wood, ripped through the middle order, dismissing Wayne White, Tom New and Jigar Naik in rapid succession to finish with figures of three for 39.
Leicestershire's total never looked likely to be enough although Nathan Buck got rid of Jimmy Adams and Howell to leave Hampshire 45 for 3 in the 12th over. But then came two substantial partnerships involving the durable McKenzie, 52 for the fourth wicket with Michael Carberry and 55 for the fifth with Liam Dawson.
Nadeem Malik kept alive Leicestershire's outside hopes of snatching an unlikely win when he had Dawson caught at square leg for 30 and then dismissed Wood next ball to leave Hampshire 153 for 6 at the end of the 29th over.
Malik knocked back the off stump of Michael Bates when the scores were level but McKenzie kept calm to see Hampshire complete their fifth win. McKenzie's unbeaten innings came off 62 balls and including five fours while the persevering Malik took 4 for 40, the best bowling of the match but it was not enough to earn his team victory.
Buck also caused Hampshire plenty of problems with a sharp opening spell and concluded with 2 for 16 from seven overs but in the end Leicestershire did not have enough runs to play with.