Gloucestershire seal vital win in rain-affected T20 vs Hampshire

20 June 2023

Young guns Ben Wells and Ben Charlesworth staged a blistering unbroken third-wicket stand of 55 as Gloucestershire beat Hampshire by eight wickets on the Duckworth/Lewis Method at Bristol's Seat Unique Stadium to keep alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stages in the Vitality Blast.

Ross Whiteley smashed an unbeaten 41 off 25 balls as Hampshire recovered from 114-6 in 16.2 overs to post a respectable 158-7 after being put in, Gloucestershire's experienced slow left armer Tom Smith returning impressive figures of 3-26 in four overs.

Gloucestershire's reply was then interrupted by rain, which caused 11 overs to be lost, and when the players returned at 9.15pm, the home side were chasing a revised target of 84 from nine overs. Wells led the charge, scoring a superb 43 from 22 balls with 3 sixes and 3 fours, while Charlesworth helped himself to 3 fours and a brace of sixes, smashing 29 off 15 deliveries to guide the home side to victory with five balls to spare.

Hampshire remain fourth in the South Group, but missed an opportunity to extend their lead to four points over nearest pursuers Glamorgan, while a fourth win in 10 games keeps alive Gloucestershire's hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals.

Gloucestershire lost an early wicket in the powerplay, Roelofsen driving uppishly against John Turner and offering a straightforward catch to mid-on. The home side had reached 15-1 in the third over when the onset of heavy rain forced the players off. When the elements finally relented and play resumed just over an hour later, Gloucestershire were required to score a further 69 runs in 40 balls at 10.35 an over.

Their hopes were initially dented when Hammond hit Dawson to mid-off and departed for four in the fourth over with the score on 30-2. Undeterred by the loss of his captain, Wells carried the fight to Hampshire, plundering a brace of fours off one Dawson over and then greeting Australian Nathan Ellis with a straight-driven four. Charlesworth proved a willing accomplice, smashing two fours and a six off three successive deliveries in the sixth over, at which point the home side needed a further 29 runs off 18 balls.

Rising to the occasion in magnificent fashion, Charlesworth hit Turner for a straight six and ramped the next ball for four in an over that yielded 11 runs, further reducing the target to 18 off the last two overs.

Wells then reverse-swept Howell for another six as the hosts brought the rate down to a run a ball in the penultimate over, rendering the remainder of their chase a formality.

Hammond earlier won his first toss as captain, inserted Hampshire and saw Zafar Gohar clean bowl Ben McDermott in the second over, the Australian playing down the wrong line and losing middle stump without scoring.

James Vince and Toby Albert eventually afforded the innings impetus in a boundary-studded stand of 41 in 4.3 overs as the visitors seized the initiative. Just when Gloucestershire needed to pull something out of the hat, Ben Wells obliged, running in from wide mid-off and scoring a direct hit to brilliantly run out Vince for 15 as he attempted to pinch a quick single off David Payne in the sixth over.

Thereafter, the home side deployed spin at both ends in a quest for containment, a policy that elicited some success as Albert and Joe Weatherley worked hard to advance the score to 71-2. Although Weatherley deployed the reverse sweep to score boundaries at the expense of Zafar and slow left armer Tom Smith, the third wicket pair were largely restricted to scampering quick singles in a bid to keep the scoreboard moving.

His patience at breaking point, Albert eventually pulled the trigger and hoisted van Buuren straight to Tom Price at long-on with the score on 84, departing for a 33-ball 36 in the twelfth over having added 43 in partnership with Weatherley. 

Ollie Price became the fourth spinner to be deployed as Gloucestershire opted to take the pace off, Weatherley pulling him for six over mid-wicket in an attempt to improve the rate as Hampshire raised three figures in the fifteenth. But the wily Smith struck a double blow in the next over, having Weatherley stumped for 37 and then, three balls later, bowling James Fuller for one to reduce the visitors to 102-5 and put wind back into Gloucestershire sails.

Smith then snared former team-mate Benny Howell before he could inflict any damage, Tom Price racing in from deep mid-wicket to take a startling one-handed catch low to the ground and bring the crowd the life.

In danger of falling short on 114-6 in the seventeenth, Hampshire were indebted to the hard-hitting Whitely, who tucked into the seamers in muscular fashion to harvest 3 fours and 2 sixes in a frenetic knock of 

41 not out off 25 balls. Payne bowled Liam Dawson in the final over, but not before the former England man had played his part in a restorative stand of 36 in 20 deliveries for the seventh wicket, an alliance the propelled the south coast side to a competitive total.

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