MATT Coles starred with bat and ball on his return to Canterbury as Hampshire beat Kent in the T20 Blast last night.
Coles hit a 17-ball 29 before taking 2-24 to help secure a 47-run win that has lifted Hampshire back up to second in the South Division, well on course for quarter-final qualification with three of the last four games at home – including Somerset’s visit on Sunday afternoon (2.30pm start).
Former England Lions all-rounder Coles, who left Kent for the Ageas Bowl at the end of last season, excelled at the end of the first innings as Hampshire amassed 173-8 after losing the toss.
It was an above par total at Canterbury, where Sussex successfully defended 149-8 in Kent’s last home game.
Despite captain James Vince’s fifth single-figure score in six innings, Hampshire raced to 61-3 at the end of their six-over powerplay. Michael Carberry went out in a blaze of glory, hitting his 18 runs from the four balls that preceded his exit.
Carberry followed three successive fours with a six back over Stevens’ head before he was caught at mid-wicket and Jimmy Adams was caught behind in the next over.
But Will Smith hit a valuable 37 (31 balls), including a six over mid-wicket against Ben Harmison’s seam-up in the fifth over.
Despite being back on the ground where he made the first of his two great Hampshire innings, Glenn Maxwell (13) again disappointed, holing out to deep mid-on in the first over after the powerplay.
But Ervine continued his upturn in form by top-scoring with a 35-ball 47, putting on 69 with Smith in a 50-ball fifth-wicket partnership.
He hit sixes against Kent’s off-spinners, hoisting Adam Riley’s first ball over mid-wicket and then launching James Tredwell over long-on.
Then Hampshire lost three wickets for three runs in six balls, with Smith dragging on and Chris Wood running himself out before Kyle Abbott was bowled first ball, through the gate by Tredwell (1-29).
Coles responded to Ervine’s exit by helping Hampshire add 28 from the last three overs.
He flat batted one of his three fours and launched Harmison over the cover boundary before he was run out when Claydon fielded the penultimate ball of the innings off his own bowling.
Michael Bates, who kept his place ahead of Adam Wheater, hit the last ball of the innings for four to ensure Kent needed to chase at more than eight -and a half an over.
Hampshire completed a comfortable win by dismissing Kent for 126 in the penultimate over.
Kent were restricted to 38-2 in the powerplay, before two Bates dismissals strengthened Hampshire’s grip.
The stumping of Fabian Cowdrey in Danny Briggs’ first over took the slow left-armer past Dimi Mascarenhas as Hampshire’s leading T20 wicket-taker, with 95 victims.
Then dangerman Darren Stevens (23), Kent’s captain in the absence of the injured Rob Key, was caught behind shortly after launching Smith’s off-spin over the rope.
Blake’s 22-ball 26 gave Kent hope and so did Sam Billings, who hit Briggs into the second tier of the imposing Frank Woolley stand during his 12-ball 19.
But then he hit Coles to extra cover and Maxwell took his third catch to see off Blake as Chris Wood, who claimed a career-best 4-24, and Kyle Abbott took the last five wickets between them in ten balls.