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Mascarenhas wary of Edgbaston repeat
YOU cannot blame Dimi Mascarenhas for being a little wary of the weather forecast as he bids to end his domestic t20 career by helping Hampshire make history at Edgbaston.
The Royals can become the first county to successfully defend the t20 title tomorrow, but it was on the same ground in 2011 that Mascarenhas’s first domestic t20 semi-final ended in heartbreak – thanks to the rain. Hampshire were going well when a downpour stopped them in their tracks at 138-4 in the 16th over of their semi-final against Somerset.
When play resumed, there was only time for ten overs and, as is often the case, the revised Duckworth Lewis target favoured the side batting second.
Somerset’s 94-6 tied the match and they won the Super Over.
“We all know if it hadn’t rained we would have won the game easily, the rain cost us but that’s Twenty20, that’s the way it goes,” said Mascarenhas, who must have wondered whether he would ever win the domestic t20 title, having missed Hampshire’s 2010 triumph due to injury.
Determined to lead Hampshire to the title in Cardiff last year, he reeled off aggregate figures of 8-0-31-4 against Somerset and Yorkshire while bowling through the agony of a serious injury to his right shoulder, knowing it would end his season.
Mascarenhas credits former Hampshire physios Andrew Nealon and Craig DeWeymarn, now working for Liverpool FC and the England cricket team respectively, for ensuring he is still playing as a serious Achilles injury had already threatened his career.
Now the 35-year-old is two games from leading the Royals to back-to-back titles that would equal Leicestershire’s overall record of three.
But the forecast is poor. More revised targets are likely and the Finals Day could even go into the reserve day for the first time.
“Let’s hope there’s no rain and we have three good games,” said Mascarenhas, whose leadership has helped Hampshire make a mockery of the notion that t20 is a lottery.
Mascarenhas’s IPL experience has helped create an environment in which another well-drilled Royals team has won a formidable 17 domestic t20 matches out of their last 18 over the last 14 months.
That solitary defeat last month was a real aberration, coming as it did at home to a Kent side whose interest in the tournament was already over.
But Mascarenhas knows only too well that form will count for nothing tomorrow as their semi-final defeat at Edgbaston two years ago was also preceded by outstanding group form (11 wins out of 13).
“Last year we scraped into the quarter final, this year we made it easy but all that’s gone before means nothing, it comes down to who performs on the day in these big, crunch knockout games.”
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