Rilee Rossouw takes Hampshire to ninth One-Day Cup title win
Hampshire beat Kent at Lord's on Saturday evening to clinch the Royal London One-Day Cup title. In what was a particularly high scoring tournament, they amassed 7/330 in their quota of fifty overs before restricting Kent 61 runs short of their total. But more than a dismal batting return and a bowling effort that was far from penetrating, Kent will rue Sam Billings' decision to win the toss and put in James Vince's Hampshire to bat first.
A popular cricket adage goes as follows and it has held meaning for a good deal of time now.
Nine out of ten times, you win the toss and bat first, the tenth time you think for a moment and then bat first.
Modern cricket is posing challenges to this statement, but in the big matches, even today, scoreboard pressure holds great value. Remember how scoreboard pressure was all that Pakistan needed in the 2017 Champions Trophy final to have the world's best batting line-up falling like dominoes.
After a rollicking opening stand between Tom Alsop and Rilee Rossouw worth 136 runs, Kent came back into the game by dismissing one of the most in-form batsmen in England, James Vince, for just 23. Sam Northeast, the former Kent batsman, walked out to bat amidst booing by the opposition, and made a quickfire 60 ball 75.
The real star, though, was Rossouw whose 125 off 114 balls helped Hampshire score the highest ever total in the history of cup finals. Surprisingly, Joe Denly was the pick of the bowlers for Kent with 4/57, most of the wickets coming in a late onslaught attempt by the batsmen.
Kent were well on track in their chase to victory before Heino Kuhn, the man with four centuries in the competition, was run out. More sloppy running followed as Alex Blake, Harry Podmore and Callum Haggett fell in similar fashion.
Opener Daniel Bell Drummond did well to get to 86 off 89 but got no support from the rest of the line-up save for captain Billings' fighting knock of 75 off 60 balls. Hampshire boasted a bowling line-up with as many as four Test capped players in Mark Wood, Liam Dawson, Dale Steyn and Mason Crane. Steyn still looked a bit undercooked but Wood hit neat lengths and never allowed any of the Kent batsmen to get away in all three of his spells, finishing with rewarding match figures of 9-0-43-1.
Rossouw was rightfully adjudged the Player of the Match for his fine hundred in front of a 21,000 capacity crowd at Lord's.