Brilliant Briggs puts Durham in a spin
England Lions’ left-arm spinner Danny Briggs claimed five wickets as holders Hampshire marched into the Friends Life t20 semi-finals at the expense of Durham.
Hampshire, after their captain Dominic Cork won the toss on his 40th birthday, overwhelmed their opponents by 55 runs in front of a capacity Rose Bowl crowd.
Briggs ran through the Durham top order, dismissing Phil Mustard in his first over and then breaking the back of the Durham batting by sending back David Miller and big-hitting Ben Stokes in his third.
The 20-year-old, who came to prominence with a series of impressive displays in last year’s domestic t20 competition, finished with career-best figures of 5-19 from four overs as Durham lost their last eight wickets for 39 and were bowled out for 99.
Hampshire had earlier posted 154 for six, thanks largely to a well-paced 56 from Neil McKenzie.
The South African featured in two important stands, sharing 66 for the fourth wicket with Sean Ervine, and 47 for the fifth with Liam Dawson.
Hampshire's rhythm was upset by three run-outs, including that of Shahid Afridi, who was dismissed withouth facing off the second ball of the match as Scott Borthwick produced a sensational piece of fielding at cover.
McKenzie, who made 237 on his last trip to the same Rose Bowl crease two days ago, hit successive sixes off Ian Blackwell to give his side a welcome lift.
He eventually fell lbw to Mitchell Claydon in the last over of the Hampshire innings, having faced 44 balls.
Claydon was the pick of the Durham bowlers, with 2-15, but the north-east county made a slow response when it was their turn to bat.
They were still in the match at 60 for two at the start of the 10th over, before Briggs began to undermine them.
There was some extravagant spin to help the youngster and later in the Durham innings there was a wicket for another spinner, Imran Tahir, while Afridi claimed the last two wickets in successive balls.
Stokes hit the only six of the Durham innings, but, with the score on 61, he was smartly stumped by Michael Bates attempting to sweep.
Briggs' fourth victim was the visiting captain Dale Benkenstein, who drove to Jimmy Adams at mid-off, and he completed his outstanding analysis by having Liam Plunkett caught by the same fielder in the deep at the start of the 18th over.
Hampshire join Leicestershire and Somerset, the team they beat in the final last year, in the semi-finals, with Sussex taking on Lancashire tomorrow night in the final last-eight clash.