Hampshire 356-9 lost to Somerset 360-7 by three wickets

HAMPSHIRE have a home Royal London One-day Cup semi-final to look forward to – despite failing to defend a record Ageas Bowl total against Somerset.

A second-wicket partnership of 186 between Tom Alsop (95) and James Vince (109) laid the foundation for Hampshire’s 356-9, the county’s highest List A total at The Ageas Bowl and only four short of their best-ever 50-over performance with the bat.

It was not enough against a Somerset side that won a thriller off the last ball, but Hampshire are still at home in the last four on June 17/18, following Kent’s defeat at Essex.

With 17 needed off two overs, Dale Steyn’s nous came to the fore after an expensive first spell from the South Africa legend.

Roelof Van der Merwe hit the Proteas star’s penultimate ball, a full toss, straight to Alsop on the short leg-side boundary.

Eleven were required off the final over and Chris Wood only conceded four off the first three balls against England’s Craig Overton and rookie Ben Green.

But Overton then despatched a full toss for four and Brad Taylor, running in from mid-wicket, dropped him next ball with a sprawling effort.

With the scores level, Overton chipped the winning runs over the infield for another four.

Not helped by two dropped catches in his first match for five months, Steyn conceded 50 runs from five overs as former Hampshire star Johann Myburgh set up the chase with a rapid 71 (49 balls).

They included a whipped six over square leg as 18 came off Steyn’s second over.

Steven Davies also flourished, taking four fours from five balls off the South Africa legend before Brad Taylor broke the partnership with his second delivery.

Myburgh added another 54 with run-a-ball centurion Peter Trego.

James Hildreth also highlighted Somerset’s batting depth, sharing 110 in 16 overs with Trego during a 41-ball 56 that included three sixes, one of which was spectacularly reverse swept against Dawson.

Hampshire did not help themselves by dropping several chances. The most expensive was a difficult chance for Wood on the boundary, when Trego went from 11 to 17.

On another day, Mason Crane’s first ball would have got rid of Trego instead of being edged between Vince and McManus when the veteran was on 22.

Trego eventually drove to long-off and Dawson soon trapped Matt Renshaw lbw as the Australian tried to reverse.

Lewis McManus missed a straightforward stumping with Somerset 322-5 but hopes were raised when Crane bowled Lewis Gregory, the visitors’ captain, when the left-hander tried a switch hit early in the 48th.

It was not to be as Hampshire suffered a second successive home defeat. But they will take heart from their batting.

Alsop, having lost Rilee Rossouw in the second over after Hampshire won the toss, made his highest score in the format since his match-winning 112 not out against Kent at Canterbury 14 months ago.

Vince’s 109 was his first one-day hundred since last season’s 178 - Hampshire’s highest ever individual limited-overs score – and was garnished by 13 typically elegant fours and an inside-out cover drive for six against England new boy Dom Bess, who was limited to three expensive overs on his return to the county circuit.

Wickets fell regularly after Alsop’s exit but Liam Dawson, back after a finger injury, provided the innings with real impetus in the last 20 overs, striking 76 from only 47 balls, and sharing 62 in 5.3 overs with Gareth Berg.

It included two Dawson sixes against Overton in the 48th over, which sandwiched a beamer from the England man.

Berg was soon run out but Wood hit three successive fours at the end of the penultimate over - two audacious leg-side glances and then through mid-wicket against  Gregory – before he and Dawson went in successive balls.

Then Crane ended the innings with a flourish, hitting the last two balls for four against Overton, included a delightful cover drive, to take Hampshire to what should have been a winning total.