HAMPSHIRE’S Sam Northeast admitted his side kept “stalling throughout the innings” as they fell to a nine-wicket T20 Blast defeat at Surrey.

In a game which included some spectators in attendance in line with the government’s COVID-19 pilot testing for sporting venues, both sides saw the contest reduced due to rain.

Initially made a 17-over game, rain played a further part as Hampshire limped to 77 for five from 11 overs.

Surrey were set 80 for victory via the Duckworth-Lewis method and reached the total with relative ease thanks to former South Africa Test star Hashim Amla (29) and Will Jacks’s unbeaten 45.

Northeast top-scored in the visitors’ batting effort, with 31 from as many deliveries.

Asked about the contest, the stand-in skipper said: “It was sort of a weird game.

“We kept coming off for rain and getting it reduced. We never really got any momentum in the game from the start to be honest.

“A few more boundaries in there would have been nice and propelled us up a little bit further.

“There were a few points where we probably could have just kicked on but we lost a few wickets and kept stalling the whole way through the innings.

“We just kept losing wickets and definitely didn’t get enough runs. We tried our heart out with the ball but it just wasn’t enough unfortunately.

“Trying to defend six in the last over was always going to be tough.”

Amla was the only man to fall to the Hampshire attack when he was caught behind by Lewis McManus off the bowling of leg-spinner Mason Crane.

But he and fellow opener Jacks took the game away from the Ageas Bowl side, who included Pakistan paceman Shaheen Afridi in their line-up for the first time.

“They (Jacks and Amla) played very well, both of them,” said Northeast.

“Especially against our new overseas who looked like he bowled extremely quick. They got through is spell really well.

“Mason is bowling incredibly well at the moment. He nearly dragged us back in there right at the end. The bowlers did well, the batters just didn’t get enough.

“If we had just set them any more it will be a tough chase for them.”

Hampshire return to Bob Willis Trophy action on Sunday, their final four-day fixture of the summer coming at Canterbury against Kent.

Northeast said: “We can’t qualify and there’s going to be a few youngsters playing – saving some of the guys for the T20.

“But it will be a good opportunity for some of the youngsters to show what they are made of for next year. Maybe they want to try and crack into that four-day side as well.”