Test Match Sofa
McKenzie relief at match-winning knock
By Bruce Talbot
Neil McKenzie has spoken of his relief at producing a match-winning t20 knock after his heroic performance against Nottinghamshire fired Hampshire to a third successive Finals Day.
The South African’s unbeaten 79 in the last of the t20 quarter-finals clinched a dramatic win at Trent Bridge. It came less than a week after his LV County Championship century against Essex at Chelmsford.
But his t20 form had been below his high standards before his last-eight heroics. After returning for a third stint with Hampshire as a specialist in the shortest format, his first six innings had yielded just 47 runs.
“I hadn’t done too much this year, a lot of the other guys have got us this far but I’ve finally earned my pay cheque!” quipped the veteran batsman after Hampshire successfully chased down Notts’ 178 for 7 in the final over.
“It was a really good team performance. They got a few too many but it was such a good wicket and the belief got us through. We were positive and there were a few gems with Liam Dawson, Dimi Mascarenhas at the end and Simon Katich giving us us impetus up front.”
McKenzie needed a runner after pulling up during the last over, which began with Hampshire needing 12 runs. “I don’t know what I did, whether it’s cramp or a pulled hamstring, but it worked out well with Vince coming on with some fresh legs,” he said.
“It’s my third year at Hampshire, and when I arrived they warned me that they don’t do things easy. I’m glad the twist worked in our favour at the end.”
Hampshire effectively won the match off the penultimate ball. Had McKenzie been out to the final delivery, which would have seen the sides tied on wickets lost as well as runs scored, the result would have gone in the Royals' favour because of their superior powerplay.
“If I got out I wouldn’t have known how it worked, but we trusted my forward defence and I had that ready,” McKenzie added.
Hampshire will play Somerset in a repeat of last year’s semi-final, which will be the second match of Finals Day, at 2.30pm in Cardiff on August 25.
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