One could forgive a Hampshire supporter for hauling a cool bag of above-moderate expectations out to The Ageas Bowl for Friday night’s sun-kissed Vitality Blast opener. Craig White’s side comes with a strong pedigree in the short format, after all – being attendees at Finals Day for seven of the the past eight summers and twice champions, anchored by an incessant core of strong internationals, and fresh off sealing a dominant victory in the game’s other limited overs format at Lord’s just six days prior, it’d be rude not to have faith for their homecoming.
Freshly imported to bolster a top order that already ranks amongst the circuit’s strongest, 86-cap New Zealander Colin Munro made inroads towards an under-par Glamorgan target of 168 by dispatching Andrew Salter for a deep boundary with the first ball of the innings. Such audacity was immediately stemmed, however, as Chris Cooke took a sharp catch behind before Lord’s hero Rilee Rossouw misjudged a sweep to leave the score at 9/2 six balls in. That became 15/4 three overs later as Timm van der Gugten caught both a stunning return grab off England misfit James Vince (2) and a flimsy prod from former Kent talisman Sam Northeast (3) off the miserly Michael Hogan, hopes of anything respectable lay firmly on the shoulders of Tom Alsop, who struck a bold 64 in similar circumstances last summer against Sussex.
Instead, all he could muster was a lethargic pull on 12 to become Salter’s third victim, and Graham Wagg’s brace of Lewis McManus (0) and Liam Dawson (2) to similar shots into Salter’s hands the next over sparked hunts for the record books. From a platform of 32/7, only superfluous counterattack from tail-end duo Gareth Berg (26) and Kyle Abbott (a career-best 29) kept Hampshire from limboing beneath their decade-old previous lowest of 85, and by the time they closed their tallies the formidable ground appeared yet more cavernous. Around 7,500 spectators appeared, and all many had to sing about was how football may well be coming home. Continue reading “Miserable Hampshire chase allows Glamorgan a record win in Vitality Blast opener”