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Match Report: Hampshire vs. Kent Spitfires

Kent Spitfires played on the Isle of Wight for the first time as they faced Hampshire at Newclose in the Metro Bank One Day Cup.

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Aneurin Donald produced his destructive best to score the first white-ball century of his career as Hampshire beat Kent Spitfires by three wickets in a nervy trip to the Isle of Wight.

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Entertaining Donald smashed 106 off 73 balls – which included six ginormous maximums – with Tom Prest and Ben Brown scoring classy 70s around him as Hampshire chased down 325 in the Metro Bank One-Day Cup.

Daniel Bell-Drummond had totted up 150 in a brilliant innings after sizeable stands with Harry Finch and Alex Blake but it wasn’t defended despite Matt Parkinson twice being on a hat-trick. Kent was eliminated by Lancashire’s victory while Hampshire, who were already through, will play Worcestershire on Sunday in a quarter-final at the Ageas Bowl.

Kent chose to bat and Joe Denly was dropped before chopping Ian Holland on in a short stay, with Jack Leaning bowled by returning Hundred man Mason Crane’s first ball of the day. But the Spitfires took control on a great batting pitch through Bell-Drummond and Finch, both were exceptional at milking the bowling and sapping the energy of fielders and bowlers alike in the Isle of Wight heat.

Bell-Drummond rolled through the gears bringing up his third half-century on the competition in 65, with Finch following in 60 deliveries. Finch was bowled by Eddie Jack to end a 134-ball stand, but that only kick-started a blitzkrieg between Bell-Drummond and Blake.

Bell-Drummond’s seventh List A century in 108 balls before with Blake smashed 26 off a Dom Kelly over during a 98-run partnership in a little over 11 overs. Blake’s dismissal for 46, lbw attempting to reverse Crane, saw five wickets fall for 35 runs as the visitors slowed down – despite reaching their highest List A score versus Hampshire.

Ian Holland had Grant Stewart and Bell-Drummond caught swinging to return three for 45, with Hamidullah Qadri and Nathan Gilchrist also departing. Hampshire needed to chase the 325 down in approximately 32 overs to beat Leicestershire to top spot in Group A – however they didn’t attempt the unlikely feat.

Fletcha Middleton was caught and bowled by Jaydn Denly but Tom Prest kicked the innings into gear with the adhesive Ben Brown. Prest’s third score over 50 in the competition was full of gorgeous shot-making which included eight fours and a six which thumped into the bumper crowd – which was in the ballpark of 2,500.

His 78 in 75 was merely the amuse bouse to Donald’s main course. He tottered along at around a run-a-ball for his first 25 balls before exploding. He started by almost sending Qadri over his head and back to the mainland before turning to his trusted slog-sweep to take down Matt Parkinson and Denly with five more sixes.

The Welshman survived a missed stumping, a catch on the boundary when Gilchrist stepped on the rope and Joe Denly spilling an easy catch at cover. Brown – after 73 off 77 – and Joe Eckland fell in successive balls to Parkinson before Donald reached a popular century in an astonishing 71 balls.

He was bowled by Qadri to leave 37 still needed in seven overs. Holland and Keith Barker’s dismissals to Parkinson in back-to-back balls saw the game close back up. But Felix Organ’s 30 not out steadied things before Crane won it with a six and a bow.

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Kent Spitfires batter Daniel Bell-Drummond: “It is a tough one to take. We’ve been inconsistent all tournament, we’ve shown some flashes but it wasn’t meant to be. We needed other results to go our way today on top of us winning.

“We were looking like 350 at one stage but couldn’t quite get there on a good wicket. We need a bit more there as it turned out and our fielding let us down.

“I picked up where I left off before the injury. I am very happy with my runs at the moment and I want to keep it going. Hopefully I’ve found the rhythm and method that makes it stay and make me more consistent.

“I’ve got big scores before but I needed to understand the period of the game and the need to stay in for the team.

“50 overs is quite tough. There are different phases to it and whichever one you choose you might regret it – whether you keep your head down at go at 80 strike rate, the other team could chase it, or if you sky one on 60 you might regret it. Today I choose to bat through and was able to catch up.”

The LV= Insurance County Championship comes to a head next month

We welcome Nottinghamshire to The Spitfire Ground in one of three first-class fixtures in September:

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