International Cricket

Match Report – GLOUC vs HANTS South Group, June 07, 2024

Hampshire 128 for 5 (Albert 41*, Payne 3-17) beat Gloucestershire 124 (Turner 3-24, Wood 2-13, Neser 2-24) by five wickets

Toby Albert anchored Hampshire Hawks to a hard-fought five-wicket Vitality Blast triumph over South Group rivals Gloucestershire beneath the Seat Unique Stadium floodlights at Bristol.

The 23-year-old Academy product top-scored with 41 not out from 32 balls and dominated a match-winning stand of 61 for the fifth wicket with James Fuller as the visitors chased down a modest victory target of 125 on a used pitch with 3.1 overs to spare.

But they were made to fight hard by Gloucestershire’s front-line seamer David Payne, who took 3 for 17 in four overs to at least make a game of it in front of a crowd of nearly 4,000.

Hampshire’s second successive win was founded upon a disciplined performance from their seam bowling unit, John Turner claiming 3 for 24 in 3.2 overs and Chris Wood, Michael Neser and Fuller each weighing in with two wickets apiece as Gloucestershire were bowled out for 124 in 18.2 overs.

Cameron Bancroft top-scored with 29, Beau Webster made 28 and Matt Taylor hit a quickfire 27, but the hosts never really recovered from the loss of early wickets and only managed three double-figure partnerships in an innings that failed to achieve lift-off.

Buoyant Hampshire head to Taunton and a showdown with title holders Somerset on Sunday, while Gloucestershire attempt to recover from back-to-back defeats when they take on Sussex in Bristol.

Put into bat, Gloucestershire slipped to 15 for 2 in a powerplay that yielded 40 for the loss of Miles Hammond and James Bracey. Wood accounted for both, having Hammond held at mid-on and then persuading Bracey to hit high to deep mid-wicket where Benny Howell took a fine catch on the run.

Overseas signings Bancroft and Webster staged a recovery of sorts, the Australians adding 45 in five overs. Opening his shoulders, Webster smashed Fuller for a straight six that cleared the stand as Gloucestershire passed 50 in the seventh, but Turner broke the third wicket partnership when Bancroft, having accrued 29 from 23 balls with 4 fours, holed out to long-on.

And 60-3 became 60-4 later in the same over, James Vince scoring a startling direct hit from mid-off to run out Ben Charlesworth without scoring. When Jack Taylor missed a straight one and was bowled by Fuller in the eleventh, the home side were in a spot of bother on 65 for 5.

Australian seamer Neser piled the pressure onto Gloucestershire, having compatriot Webster held at long-on for a 27-ball 28 and then inducing Marchant de Lange to find long-off and finishing with 2 for 24 from four overs as the hosts further subsided to 74 for 7 by the end of the thirteenth.

Gloucestershire needed something special and Matt Taylor did his best to oblige, helping himself to 3 sixes and a four on his way to a T20 career-best score of 27 from 14 balls and staging a restorative alliance of 42 in four overs with van Buuren before falling to Fuller in the seventeenth. Turner then accounted for David Payne and van Buuren, who raised 22 at a run a ball, as Gloucestershire were dismissed with 10 deliveries unused.

Gloucestershire’s best hope of achieving an unlikely turnaround in fortunes, veteran left arm seamer Payne removed the openers inside his first two overs, bowling Ben McDermott and having Vince caught at the wicket to sow uncertainty in Hampshire ranks. His next over saw him pin Nick Gubbins lbw for 14 as the visitors lurched to 31 for 3.

Joe Weatherley did a good job of calming any nerves in the Hampshire camp, scoring 24 in 25 balls and dominating a stand of 32 in 4.4 overs with Albert, only to then shuffle across his crease and fall lbw to de Lange with the score on 63. But the visitors were still well-placed when reaching halfway with only 57 more runs needed.

Albert now took centre stage, finding the gaps, running hard between the wickets and punishing the poor ball when it came along to keep Hampshire on track. Former Gloucestershire man Fuller provided solid support at the other end and, once these two emerged intact from Payne’s final over, with 31 required from 42 balls, Hampshire’s success was more or less assured.

In cruise control by the end, Albert had mustered six boundaries by the time Fuller was bowled by Ajeet Singh Dale, having made 27 from 23 balls. Howell then hit the winning boundary as the Hawks won with plenty to spare.

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