Jimmy Adams shrugged off Essex’s controversial punishment as he insisted: We would have won the game regardless.
As their match with Hampshire headed for a thrilling climax at the Ageas Bowl last night, the Eagles were hit with six penalty runs for failing to bowl their overs in the allotted time period.
So instead of needing eight runs from the final over, the Royals required just two to reach their victory target of 183, which they duly did with four balls to spare and with five wickets in hand to reach the t20 quarter-finals.
While Essex fumed at the umpires’ decision, they could have few complaints after having to bowl two extra overs in wides and no balls, while skipper James Foster seemed to make changes to the field between almost every delivery.
Adams said: ‘To get eight runs off the last over with the guys out there, I reckon we would have been okay.
‘But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. We won the game.
‘There are areas that Essex will be frustrated with and some areas where we could have been better, too.
‘But it certainly released a lot of the pressure.
‘A few of us were looking at the clock in the last 15 minutes and thinking it could happen, but we had a left-right hand combination in and they bowled a lot of wides.
‘And you want to get the field placing right but you also need a bit of efficiency in there as well.
‘Some times when the ball is flying around, it’s really hard.
‘But I know a few people around the country have been saying how hard it is to get the overs in the allotted time.’
The incident failed to take the gloss off a high-quality game of cricket in front of a vocal Ageas Bowl crowd, with Owais Shah (68) and Michael Carberry (54) turning in fabulous batting displays for their respective sides.
And Adams revealed the rest of the Royals players watched on in awe as Carberry produced another wonder knock.
Adams said: ‘I don’t want to say too much because it will put the wood on him!
‘But he has been in great nick. He hit one six and we all turned to each other in the dugout and said “he is striking the ball as well as anyone”.
‘It was fantastic power-hitting but the good thing is that he has gone on to make a big score.
‘A lot of people will get starts but he goes on to make match-winning scores and that is a huge, huge fillip.
‘He has been fantastic at the top of the order for us and hopefully it continues.’
The victory ensured the Royals will now be in the quarter-finals of the t20 for the fifth straight year, although the defending champs are now keen to claim a home tie in the last eight.
Adams said: ‘The guys play t20 cricket to be a part of it, to enjoy it and it’s a format where we’ve found a decent formula.
‘Now we want to make sure we get a home quarter-final for another great crowd as we had for this game.
‘It makes a real difference.’