Lumb rides his luck to lead Hampshire into last four

Hampshire 310-4 Middlesex 266 (Hampshire win by 44 runs)
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The Independent Online

For Hampshire against Middlesex, read Johannesburg v Durban. Yesterday's Friends Provident Trophy match at the Rose Bowl was dominated by two South African-raised cricketers as Michael Lumb, from Transvaal, hit 100 for Hampshire before Neil Dexter, once of Durban, replied with 79. In the end, Lumb and his team-mates came out on top as a promising Middlesex run chase came to a shuddering halt after Dexter's demise.

Lumb was understandably delighted with his century, the second of his Hampshire career. "It's really special to get one at the Rose Bowl, I've wanted to do that for a long time," he said. As to why cricketers with South African backgrounds thrive in county cricket, he was unsure. "Maybe we're a bit tougher, I don't know," he offered.

Having lost the toss, the off- spinning Middlesex captain Shaun Udal bowled the first over himself. Perhaps keen to gauge the quality of a pitch that looked very dry, he was hit for a solitary four by Lumb and promptly took himself off.

Chris Silverwood replaced him and induced an edge from Lumb which wicketkeeper Ben Scott failed to hold on to. Lumb and Jimmy Adams proceeded to set about Silverwood, Steven Finn and, in particular, Gareth Berg, whose first two overs went for 26. Lumb, pulling and driving freely, brought up his 50 in the 10th over from just 34 balls.

Having lost his partner on 156 when Adams played on to a straight ball from Finn to be out for 76, Lumb was badly dropped by Billy Godleman, fielding at mid-on. The former Yorkshire man then brought up his century, from 97 balls, which he celebrated by leaping theatrically into the air. His return to terra firma was swift: stumped off the next delivery he faced from Dawid Malan.

Thus began a mini-collapse. Sean Ervine was out the very next ball before Chris Benham fell to leave the Hawks 220-4. Michael Carberry and Liam Dawson – who paddle-swept his way to 51 in 37 balls – prevented further damage before going on the attack as Hampshire finished with a flourish.

Middlesex's openers looked to reply in the same spirit but the scoreboard had only reached 29 when Godleman lobbed the ball to mid-off, from the bowling of Dominic Cork. He was involved in Nick Compton's demise too, as he held on to a catch in front of the media centre.

That brought Dexter to the wicket. Nervous at first, he was soon attacking with confidence: perhaps his most memorable stroke was a pulled six off Imran Tahir. His downfall came when he tried to pull Tahir again, but only into the hands of Hamza Riazuddin.

"We always knew we were one ball away [from being on top]," said Lumb. "You get a couple of wickets fall and with two new batters it's a whole new ball game." So it proved. A collapse followed and Hampshire were into the semi-finals where they will face Lancashire.