Test Match Sofa
Maxwell's regrets at Hampshire exit
By Graham Hardcastle, in South Africa
Australian overseas all-rounder Glenn Maxwell has admitted his share of the blame for Hampshire's early exit from the Champions League t20 campaign in South Africa following two qualifying defeats.
The Royals were out of the competition after their opening defeat against Auckland Aces in Centurion on Wednesday before their misery was compounded by a six-wicket defeat against Sialkot Stallions in Johannesburg last night.
Hampshire struggled with the bat in both games. Maxwell was out cheaply against the New Zealanders when he holed out to long-on off the spin of Ronnie Hira before falling for a top-score of 42 against the Pakistanis just when he and Shahid Afridi were about to begin a late assault.
"It really hurts because I love playing with these guys," said the Victorian. "I felt that I owed them a service to help them get through to the group stages. Failing in the first game, and getting out the way I did, was really frustrating.
"In this last game, I think I should have been the one who was there at the end to bat through. I needed to be that senior player who was there at the end to see the innings home.
"The one thing the guys have done well through the whole of our t20 campaign is for one guy to see the innings through and be the rock. It had to be me in this game, and I didn't do it."
One thing Hampshire, who fly home today, will no doubt regret is not coming out to South Africa earlier than last Saturday morning, just a day before their first warm-up match and only four days before they played Auckland.
It is no coincidence that the two teams who prepared the best have qualified for the group stages. Auckland arrived in South Africa on September 22 and Yorkshire last Wednesday morning.
"It's been disappointing, but I suppose it's the way that Twenty20 goes," added Maxwell. "It's hard luck when you only get one opportunity We lost against Auckland, and our dreams were shattered.
"I'm gutted for the boys because this was their first big tournament. They were really looking forward to it. We just didn't start well. The first six overs of the first game set the tone for us. As soon as you have a bad start in Twenty20, you're sort of chasing your tail.
"But the boys have had a great summer with their two one-day wins in the CB40 and the FLt20. Personally, it's great to be a part of that. I'm lucky that the club took me on."
Maxwell aims to break into Australia's Test team this winter through some strong performances in Sheffield Shield cricket for Victoria.
But, not surprisingly, he is keen to return to the South Coast next season. He said: "I'd love to come back. It obviously depends on timings and different tours, but hopefully Hampshire will be able to take me on for some second or first XI games if possible."
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