For all his faults, James Vince is still one of the more elegant batsmen in the county game. But on a sunny Monday at The Ageas Bowl, he blended beauty with brutality as Hampshire progressed to the Royal London One-Day Cup final with a 107-run victory over Yorkshire.
Vince shifted gears perfectly. His first fifty came from 46 balls, his second from 37, his third from 28. Yorkshire looked helpless to stop his onslaught — even when posting four men back on the legside, he pierced the gap with precision.
He drove as nicely as ever, punching the ball through cover off the back foot with immaculate timing, and was strong both sides of the wicket. Vince took to Karl Carver, belting him over long on and midwicket before striking a stunning straight six off Matthew Fisher as he moved past 150.
His partnership of a run-a-ball 124 with Sam Northeast, fit again after a fractured finger, put Hampshire into a commanding position in the middle overs and set the platform for Vince’s assault.
When he pulled four to reach a consecutive One-Day Cup hundred, there were still 19 overs remaining. The Hampshire List A record is his — 178 against Glamorgan last year, eclipsing Gordon Greenidge’s 177 — and it looked as though that was in danger of being broken.
It took a superb leaping catch on the long on boundary by Tom Kohler-Cadmore to finally remove Vince for 171. By then, Hampshire had 313 and some aggression from Lewis McManus — as well as Reece Topley’s first ever six, from the final ball of the innings — helped them to 348.
Vince was the only man all day to look fluent all the way through, with batsmen finding it difficult to get started against the older ball. Only he, Northeast and Yorkshire’s Jonny Tattersall passed 32 in the match.
Jimmy Adams, promoted to open, had got Hampshire off to a good start with ten coming from the first over. Ben Coad dismissed him soon after with a juggled catch from Kohler-Cadmore at slip, with fellow opener Rilee Rossouw spooning to mid on for 32.
Northeast took his time to get going but played a controlled innings, making 56 in his first appearance in eight weeks. He holed out to mid off, backing away to give himself room, with Joe Weatherley bowled by Coad soon after.
McManus tried continuing his captain’s attack and reached 25 before finding deep cover with three wickets falling in the final ten balls. Yorkshire conceded just 63 in the final nine overs.
In truth, Yorkshire never looked like chasing down the highest List A score between the two sides. They were two down within five overs. Adam Lyth was trapped lbw by Chris Wood and then Cheteshwar Pujara, who flew back from India after their Test with Afghanistan and only arrived on Sunday, edged a lifter from Dale Steyn to slip for a duck.
Former captain Gary Ballance played some nice shots in his 25 but was caught in the deep pulling before Kohler-Cadmore cut Liam Dawson to backward points, leaving his side 73 for four.
Tattersall was the only man to put up any resistance with a half-century, but he was unable to accelerate as required. It took him 57 balls to reach the milestone with just a pair of boundaries; at that time, his side needed a further 185 from 103 deliveries.
Tim Bresnan’s middle stump was flattened after putting on 50 with Tattersall increasing the rate; he added 48 from 24 deliveries after reaching fifty, including 18 from a Gareth Berg over. But, on a career-best 89, he was deceived by a Reece Topley slower ball and Berg, at cover, made no mistake from the leading edge.
From there it was only a matter of time. Dawson claimed his third and fourth wickets in his final over, first Steven Patterson well-caught behind and then Fisher lbw. Fittingly, Vince took the final catch — that of Coad, driving to mid off — to bowl Yorkshire out for 241, and send Hampshire to a Lord’s final for the first time since 2012.