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Kent Spitfires (167-8) lost at Hampshire Hawks (221-3) by 54 runs in Vitality Blast

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Kent Spitfires remain rooted to the foot of the T20 Blast South Group after losing at Hampshire Hawks on Friday night.

Spitfires were demolished by James Vince's 53-ball century before Joe Weatherley hit three sixes in the final over of their innings to ensure 40 runs were added off the last nine balls.

Fred Klaassen's final over went for 30 runs on Friday night. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Fred Klaassen's final over went for 30 runs on Friday night. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Kent never looked like chasing down the total despite Joe Denly's 49 and 44 from Alex Blake.

After four straight losses to start the Blast, Hampshire have got on a roll and moved into the top four for the first time.

Having been stuck in, Hampshire were only 32-1 - Ben McDermott skied Grant Stewart - at the end of the powerplay, and 12 of those came in the sixth over. That inauspicious start ramped up as Tom Prest and Vince found their gears quickly.

They started by using the expansive Ageas Bowl outfield to milk ones and twos, before accelerating into boundaries. The turning point from normal accumulation to intergalactic striking was Stewart’s third over which went for 25 runs. Prest started with a slog-swept six before Vince rounded it out with six, six, four.

From then on, the Hawks flew. Only one over in the second half of the innings went for fewer than nine runs. Both Prest and Vince reached half-centuries in 34 balls as they became the first Hampshire duo to put on 100 together in a T20 versus Kent.

After Vince had taken George Linde for 17, including a huge maximum over the leg side, Qais Ahmad ended the partnership on 128. Prest’s slog sweep only went up as he departed for a season-best 52.

Vince's second fifty came in 19 balls and included three towering sixes into the leg side and five fours. Stewart (2-47) removed him next ball while Fred Klaassen had figures of 0-67 after a disastrous final over, which started with a no-ball six costing him eight runs and ended with two more sixes and two fours.

Hampshire's score of 221-3 score was their third-best in T20 history, beaten by 249 at Derbyshire in 2017 and 225 against Middlesex in 2006.

Kent’s reply couldn’t have started worse as Daniel Bell-Drummond and Jordan Cox were both caught in the ring before the end of the third over. Sam Billings (12) was bowled by James Fuller not long after, but Denly and Blake added 54 to momentarily fight back.

Denly drilled to long off, Blake to long-on, and Linde (4) to a sprawling mid-off. Jack Leaning was cleaned up for a 20-ball 35, and Qais was caught and bowled as Kent ended up on 167-8.

Spitfires skipper Billings said: "Any time an opposition gets 220 you are up against it. You need to have one guy to stand out and have supportive guys around him.

"We just gave them too many runs. James Vince showed the classy player he is and the supporting players around him propelled them to a total way out of sight. 190 was a par score on that and the difference in 30 runs is huge.

"It is always difficult when you start poorly in a competition like we have. We are not putting it all together. It has been bits and pieces.

"T20 is such a volatile game and when you get on a run, positively or negatively, it is hard to revert that. You see most teams go on runs in competitions and we haven't been our usual selves this year. The squad has been tested in terms of injuries and there are some tired bodies and that puts everyone under pressure.

"We aren't playing our best cricket and we are trying to think of different ways to get the team back on track. Collectively as a team we just haven't been good enough in all areas."

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