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Pothas and McKenzie see Hants home

Friends Life t20

Nic Pothas

Nic Pothas, pictured, and Neil McKenzie shared an unbroken stand of 23 to beat Kent in a low-scoring encounter at the Rose Bowl

Nic Pothas and Neil McKenzie guided Hampshire Royals to victory in the last over of a low-scoring Friends Provident t20 match at the Rose Bowl.

Chasing a modest 115 to beat Kent Spitfires, Hampshire scraped home by five wickets with two balls to spare.

Hampshire lost their fifth wicket, that of newcomer Abdul Razzaq, at 94 to set up a tense finish.

But the Hampshire sixth-wicket pair of Pothas and McKenzie made sure in an unbroken stand of 23 in the final three overs to give their side a winning start to this season's competition.

Kent captain Robert Key must have regretted choosing to bat first when he was out in the first over without scoring, leg before to Hampshire skipper Dimitri Mascarenhas.

Kent never fully recovered, slumping to 51 for five in the 12th over, and then 90 for eight in the 17th.

There was only one stand of substance, 23 for the seventh wicket between Darren Stevens and Matt Coles.

Stevens was Kent's top-scorer with a defiant 36, which included a six off Sean Ervine and a four.

But Kent managed only nine boundaries in their entire innings, struggling to cope with left-arm pace bowler Chris Wood, who was making his debut.

Wood took 2-17 and also ran out Stevens with a direct hit to ease Hampshire towards victory.

But Hampshire suffered a setback when Mascarenhas, who injured an ankle playing in the Indian Premier League and missed the first two months of the season, was able only to bowl three overs before limping off with a recurrence of the injury.

Kent registered 114 for nine but made an immediate breakthrough when Hampshire opener Michael Lumb was caught at backward square-leg from the first ball of the innings.

Jimmy Adams, Michael Carberry and Ervine each made useful contributions as Hampshire's innings gained momentum, with Ervine striking four fours in his top score of 31.

But Ervine's dismissal to a catch in the deep caused Hampshire to falter, and it needed the steady nerve of Pothas and McKenzie to see the Royals home.

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