McKenzie lifts Hampshire off the bottom

Nottinghamshire 270 & 315 Hampshire 305 & 281-8 <i>(Hampshire win by 2 wickets)</i>
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The Independent Online

If there was a moment for Neil McKenzie to show why Hampshire saw him as such a valuable addition to their 2010 roster it arrived here yesterday as the former South African Test batsman supervised a stunning victory over the First Division leaders.

McKenzie, whose five Test hundreds include a nine-hour, match-saving epic at Lord's during South Africa's series win in 2008, has struggled for runs since joining the South Coast side on a Kolpak deal. Yesterday, after coming in at 52 for 2, he made a superb unbeaten 115 to guide Hampshire to their first championship win of the season by two wickets in a contest that remained intriguingly balanced throughout.

McKenzie hit the winning blow, a third six pulled over the leg-side boundary off Andre Adams, with just seven balls to spare, taking them off the bottom of the table to go above Kent.

A target of 281 in 99 overs always promised a close-run thing on a pitch that showed cracks on the first day. Hampshire, seven without loss overnight, had the good start they needed and, although they lost both openers before lunch, they were favourites to win at both intervals, even though Adams and Paul Franks had both bowled well to take two wickets each.

Hampshire needed 103 with six wickets in hand at tea, but Sean Ervine soon fell leg before to Samit Patel's spin before Nic Pothas, edging Darren Pattinson to second slip, and Dominic Cork, caught on the boundary, went in consecutive overs, leaving 67 still to get from 15 overs. But McKenzie was not to be shifted and as Chris Read, the Nottinghamshire captain, wavered between attack and defence with his fields as his bowlers tired, he repeatedly found the gaps.

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