Jimmy Adams believes Hampshire have rediscovered their missing belief to give themselves a shot at a third consecutive Friends Life t20 finals day.
The Royals are just one win from securing their quarter-final berth ahead of tonight’s home clash with South Group leaders Sussex, but will have the safety net of Sunday’s Ageas Bowl encounter with Essex to fall back on if required.
After a dismal start to the competition, with home losses to Middlesex and Kent, the Royals have found their winning formula with five straight victories – including the rain-affected win at Surrey on Monday.
That saw them complete their away fixtures unbeaten, with the reverse fixture against Sussex washed out last month.
But Adams believes the team’s early double setback has stood them in good stead.
He explained: ‘We’re unbeaten away from home, we’ve played some good cricket, strung some good performances together and found some pattern to our play.
‘We were poor at the start at home where we normally pride ourselves but we got a bit of a wake-up call and thankfully turned that around.
‘I don’t know whether we can catch Sussex at the top but, if we win one of the next two, we should qualify for the quarter-finals – although my maths is not particularly good!
‘We will take it one game at a time but Sussex will be tough because they are flying high at the moment.
‘Two wins would be ideal to take us through and should get us a home quarter-final, which would be excellent.’
The Royals have become one of the top t20 sides in the country in recent years.
Champions in 2010 on their home turf after a thrilling last-ball win over Somerset, Hampshire then went down in a super over to the same opponents in last year’s semi-final at Edgbaston.
But Adams has spotted some trademark signs in the side’s march to their five straight victories.
He said: ‘The group feels pretty happy and confident with our manner of play.
‘We’ve got a strong order up front – although a few of us guys are still waiting to come off with the bat.
‘But the bowling unit looks more settled now and people know what they’re doing, which is really important in this form of the game.
‘There is a bit more buzz in the field, we understand what we are up to and there is a bit more belief that we can kick on.
‘I think there is a similar kind of momentum to the past two years when we’ve reached finals day.’