LIAM Dawson astounded Utilita Bowl with a 29 ball 56 to give Hampshire a sensational six-wicket in the County Championship victory over Kent.

Hampshire were given 179 runs to chase in 31 overs, and after Toby Albert, Fletcha Middleton and James Vince had given them a flyer, Dawson made it a cakewalk.

His two sixes and seven fours meant he completed the win in 23 overs to keep Hampshire in the title race with three wins in their last four matches.

Kyle Abbott had taken a five-wicket haul while 84-maker Harry Finch had frustrated the hosts, but Kent remain winless in the Championship since May 3.

Fletcha Middleton and Toby Albert remained as openers but hit their T20 switch to put on 41 in seven overs – coloured in with Middleton clearing long on and Albert scooping Grant Stewart over the ropes.

Albert edged behind but James Vince carried on the momentum with 32 off 21 – which included a humungous slog sweep six.

But Vince was yorked and Middleton was bamboozled by a pea-roller either side of a rain delay which lost one over.

Nick Gubbins and Dawson initially put the power-hitting back in the locker, with the run-rate in hand, to focus on smart running and precision strikes.

But then Dawson ran amok to terrorise Matt Parkinson and Nathan Gilchrist – whose figures were an unflattering one for 48 and one for 52 and included Dawson led overs which went for 14 and 19.

Gubbins holed out but James Fuller got Hampshire over the line with seven overs to spare when he threw his bat at a wide delivery.

Hampshire started the day needing eight wickets at the very least on the final day, with their lead a slender 30. But were a bowler down all day after Keith Barker pulled out of an over the previous evening, initially thought to be cramp.

It was hardly helpful when Jack Leaning was dropped on 32 and 43, although only lasted two further balls after the second shelling when an attempted hook was glanced to wicketkeeper Ben Brown.

That ended a 106-run partnership with Ben Compton, who had been a brick wall to frustrate Hampshire as long as possible, while also giving his side a slim chance of victory.

His gritty stay ended when he was adjudged to have gloved the ball to short leg before Joey Evison was pinned by a delivery which stayed low from Fuller.

What Compton had started with his 92, Harry Finch continued, initially at a quicker rate than his predecessor – especially during his 72-run stand with Tawanda Muyeye.

The wicketkeeper-batter was the glue with the tail, as Leaning had been in the first innings, although Muyeye, Charlie Stobo and Grant Stewart all fell to the rampaging Abbott.

Muyeye hit onto his own stumps, Stobo was undone by a beauty which hammered the top of off stump and Stewart was lbw to a full in-ducker.

Finch was tigerish though as he reached 50 in 81 balls, and found company with Parkinson – who like the first innings helped add 44 for the ninth wicket.

Parkinson tickled Mohammed Abbas behind but another 23-run stand for the last wicket further maddened a tetchy Hampshire before Abbott finally wrapped things up, via a Finch top edge and a juggling Vince. Abbott returning five for 85. The 179 should have been a test, but Hampshire won at a canter.

Hampshire 505/8d & 180/4 BEAT Kent 343 & 340 by six wickets

Points: Hampshire 23, Kent 4