Jimmy Adams believes Hampshire’s three-pronged spin attack now strikes fear into opposition teams after seeing the trio set up yet another Friends Life t20 victory for the Royals.
Shahid Afridi, Imran Tahir and Danny Briggs took five wickets between them to restrict Middlesex to 121 for nine in their seven-wicket win at Uxbridge – on a pitch that was not exactly tailor-made for spin bowling.
But opening batsman Adams, who carried his bat with 38 not out as the Royals romped home with three overs to spare, believes his side now have a mental advantage over their rivals.
Adams said: ‘We’ve got a psychological edge now.
‘Teams will see us and they may have to revise their plans for it.
‘We need to stay one step ahead of that, too, but I think it gives us an edge going into games.
‘The spinners that we’ve got will be good on any surface.
‘It’s a pretty potent bowling attack and I hope there is a fear factor for other teams.
‘To be honest, if our batting line-up was facing that then we would think “we’ve got to get some runs early”.
‘With Immy, Shahid and Briggsy bowling, you’ve got the ball going three different ways.
‘It is one thing picking it, but it’s another thing hitting it – especially when you’ve only got four overs to do it.
‘It is something that the opposition definitely have to think about and plan for.
‘If it is already in their heads, then it is an advantage for us.’
Adams played the anchor role for his side and allowed his partners, James Vince and Sean Ervine, to go for the majority of the boundaries.
But the Royals never looked like losing after their performance with the ball.
The left-hander said: ‘On paper, it looked an easy win but if they had put 20-30 more runs on the board, it would have been a tough chase.
‘We did a decent job but they got off to a flier and we pegged them back brilliantly. We won the game in the field.
‘Then, in our innings, you want to build a platform. Then I thought, Vincey played fantastically well.
‘He took a lot of pressure off me because I wasn’t finding it as easy to get the ball away, whereas he was hitting it to all parts.
‘Sean then came in and did a great job towards the end.’
With just four games of qualification to go, and nine wins out of 10 completed games, the Royals are four points clear at the top of the south group and bang on course for a place in the quarter-finals.
Adams said: ‘I don’t know the maths but, ideally, we want to win all of them and keep our tails up and go into the knockout stage like that.
‘But we’ve got to keep playing good cricket, keep winning games and get a home tie for the quarter-final.’