Carberry and Vince overshadow Wright ton
Luke Wright’s superb hundred proved to be in vain as Michael Carberry and James Vince blasted Hampshire into the Clydesdale Bank 40 final at the expense of Sussex.
Chasing 220 for victory at the PROBIZ County Ground, Carberry and Vince flayed the Sharks bowlers to all corners, completing rapid half-centuries in a devastating 66-ball century stand for the first wicket.
Even when the pair departed in quick succession to Will Beer, Jimmy Adams and Simon Katich contributed 44 and 47 to an unbroken partnership of 92 as the Royals eased to a eight-wicket victory with 42 balls remaining.
Opening batsman Wright - dropped on 35 by Bilal Shafayat - looked to have given Sussex a solid platform for a commanding score with 15 fours and a trio of maximums in a wonderful 122 off just 100 deliveries.
However, Sean Ervine brought Hampshire back into the contest, returning 3-36 off eight overs to limit the Sharks to 219 for eight.
The defeat represented the hosts’ second successive semi-final disappointment after their loss to Yorkshire at Friends Life t20 finals day in Cardiff last week.
After winning the toss, Chris Nash and Wright put on 71 in 11.4 overs, with the latter the aggressor after taking 16 off David Griffiths’ second over. However, Wright should have been back in the pavilion early, only for Shafayat - playing because veteran South African Neil McKenzie has returned to his homeland - to grass a simple chance at deep midwicket.
Nash skied one into the hands of short third man off Danny Briggs’ fourth ball and, after the cautious Matt Prior and Wright added 88 for the second wicket, the England wicketkeeper missed a sweep and was bowled by Chris Wood for 28.
Prior’s dismissal triggered a collapse as Sussex lost their way, sacrificing seven wickets for just 40 runs at the hands of Ervine and Griffiths.
Wright completed his second successive ton - and third of the competition - off just 84 deliveries, but Briggs snared captain Ed Joyce and Griffiths had Murray Goodwin - spilled on three - caught at cover by Adams in an over yielding 19.
Ervine ended Wright’s innings - the opener was taken at short third man - and had Ben Brown caught behind next ball before accounting for Kirk Wernars. Griffiths then returned to bowl Michael Yardy as Sussex stuttered.
Carberry and Vince got Hampshire off to a blistering start, with the former showing his immense power in bringing up a fifty off just 25 deliveries.
Vince followed suit, using 11 balls more than his opening partner, but the introduction of Beer gave Sussex some hope. Carberry’s 36-ball 68, which included eight fours and a quintet of maximums, ended when he holed out to Chris Liddle and Vince was then bowled by the leg-spinner for 58.
With Hampshire well ahead of the rate at 130 for two in the 15th over, Adams and Simon Katich could afford to play themselves in and rotate the strike with ease.
The experienced duo comfortably occupied the crease for 19 overs to close out the game, giving their side the chance of a cup double following their Friends Life t20 triumph at the SWALEC Stadium.