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Magic Maxwell sinks Kent

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Glenn Maxwell’s spectacular 32-ball innings of 66 not out fired Hampshire Royals to a six-wicket Friends Life t20 victory against Kent Spitfires at Canterbury.

Kent were seeking back-to-back wins over Hampshire in the fiercely-competitive South Group after beating the Royals by three runs at the Ageas Bowl on Friday night, and thought they had a good chance when Darren Stevens’ 60 off 44 balls took them to 135 for six on a tricky, seaming pitch.

Stevens clubbed four sixes and three fours before then bowling four overs with the new ball for just 19 runs. Hampshire were struggling at 59 for four when James Tredwell castled opener Jimmy Adams for 31 at the start of the 12th over.

They need not have worried. By the end of that same set of six, Maxwell had warmed up by hitting the off-spinner over long-on for six and then driving over extra cover for four.

In the next over, he pulled Adam Ball for a second maximum, but it was in the 14th that the 23-year-old Australian all-rounder really pressed down on the accelerator.

Glenn Maxwell

An inspired display of hitting from Glenn Maxwell took Hampshire to a much-needed Friends Life t20 South Group win over Kent Spitfires tonight

With Tredwell being kept in the attack by Kent captain Rob Key, three more driven sixes and a reverse-swept four meant 23 runs came from the over and Hampshire, suddenly, were 100 for four with six overs still to go.

Maxwell, however, had not yet finished with the Kent bowlers. He then turned his attention to Matt Coles, hitting him for his third four to reach his fifty from just 22 balls, and in 14 minutes.

He was denied another maximum in the 17th over after lifting Azhar Mahmood high over the midwicket rope, only for Ball to leap in the air, catch the ball and then fling it back on to the field of play while still airborne.

Dimi Mascarenhas, the Hampshire captain, came on to the field from the Royals’ dugout to query the decision, as Maxwell was credited only with one run, but umpires Martin Bodenham and David Millns ruled that Ball’s feet had not touched the turf before he released the ball.

Maxwell, by now clearly in the zone, reacted to the umpires’ decision by hitting Coles for another six, while Sean Ervine slashed a full toss square on the off side for four and also delivered a maximum in an 18th over which cost another 17 runs.

The match was wrapped up when Maxwell hit the first two balls of the 19th over, bowled by Mahmood with just six more needed, for four.

Before Maxwell arrived at the crease, Adams provided most of the forward impetus after Michael Carberry had fallen to an athletic return catch by Mark Davies and Ball had removed James Vince and Neil McKenzie.

Kent’s innings similarly struggled to get going, with Mascarenhas taking 2-14 in a skilful new-ball spell before Stevens and Mahmood rallied the innings in a third-wicket stand of 40 in eight overs.

Stevens was eventually out, caught at long-on, from the first ball of the final over, while Maxwell also picked up two late wickets with his off-breaks.

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