Test Match Sofa
Hampshire now aim for Champions League glory
By Mark Baldwin
Jimmy Adams, Hampshire's Clydesdale Bank 40 winning captain, is already looking forward to going for further one-day glory in next month's Champions League - and to handing back the leadership reins to Dimitri Mascarenhas.
Adams, and his team, held their nerve in a breathless finish at Lord's, with Kabir Ali beating Neil Carter with the final ball of the match to keep Warwickshire to 244 for 7 and leave Hampshire as winners thanks to losing fewer wickets in their own earlier total of 244 for 5.
It meant that Hampshire, now English cricket's undisputed one-day champions after also winning the Friends Life t20 trophy under Mascarenhas three weeks earlier, had managed not just to withstand a classy run-a-ball 81 from Warwickshire's England batsman Ian Bell - the outstanding individual talent on display on a day blessed by sunshine as well as a magnificent match - but also to triumph without their best two limited-overs bowlers, left-arm spinner Danny Briggs, who is away on England t20 duty, and all-rounder Mascarenhas, who is injured.
"Some of our other squad players had to stand up and play a huge role today," said Adams, who also captains Hampshire in County Championship cricket, "and people like Kabir, David Griffiths and Liam Dawson, who had to perform as our lone spinner, did exactly that.
"Kabir was quite outstanding in his ability to hit the blockhole regularly, and not just in that last over. Only to concede six runs in it, and especially when Carter hit the penultimate ball for four to bring the scores level, was just superb - especially as he was not sure he was going to play until right up to the game.
"I'm almost speechless at the thought of being able to lead my county to a win like that in a Lord's final, but it is an amazing feeling. I will be quite happy to hand back the captaincy to Dimi, though, when we go to the Champions League next month - and to have Dimi back with all his experience, plus Danny Briggs following the ICC World Twenty20, will give us a huge boost."
Hampshire will also be able to call on the services of Pakistan's explosive Shahid Afridi and Australian big-hitter Glenn Maxwell for the Champions League tournament in South Africa. Initially, however, they have to pre-qualify for the main tournament by finishing in the top two in a six-team group which also includes Yorkshire - who they beat in the FLt20 final in Cardiff - Trindad & Tobago, and teams from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
Adding those four players will particularly strengthen Hampshire's bowling, although Kabir will be pressing now for t20 inclusion too after his CB40-winning over. "I have worked hard on my yorkers over the last few weeks, in preparation for this match and in case I was chosen, and that has paid off," he said.
Hampshire's one-day success in recent years - they also won the Twenty20 Cup in 2010 - has also helped to accelerate the development of their clutch of fine young players, a group which includes Briggs, Dawson, batsman James Vince, wicketkeeper Michael Bates and left-arm seamer Chris Wood.
Rod Bransgrove, the Hampshire chairman, said: "We are trying to create a team for a decade. This year was about learning, but we’ve also got two pieces of silverware and we’ve learnt an awful lot about the capabilities of all our young players. It’s been an amazing year.
“The Champions League is now a unique opportunity for our players. It’s a huge stage. It’s the sort of competition that English clubs now aspire to, because we can test ourselves against the best club sides in the world. We think we are quite good at short form cricket, particularly Twenty20, and I think we have come a long way because our young players are already quite mature in one-day cricket."
Terms & Conditions
Developed by Proximity Solutions
Proximity PS Web
2007 - 2013