Bittersweet evening for returning skipper Vince

James Vince hit a classy half-century (62) but Hampshire fell agonisingly short of beating Essex last night    Picture: Neil Marshall

James Vince hit a classy half-century (62) but Hampshire fell agonisingly short of beating Essex last night Picture: Neil Marshall

Chris Stone

Havant relish quest for double joy

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James Vince felt playing for Hampshire against Essex in last night’s T20 Blast thriller at the Ageas Bowl was perfect preparation for him.

Though Hampshire lost a thrilling contest by just three runs Vince believes it was a valuable run-out ahead of his return to the England team.

Vince rejoins the national set-up on Sunday ahead of the first Test against Pakistan at Lords on Thursday.

‘It was good to come back and play for Hampshire,’ he said.

‘In the last couple of months I have not had a huge amount of time in the middle.

‘It was nice to come back here even though it was a different format to what is coming up – for me it was nice to get some batting in.

‘It has been different for me this season because of the involvement with England.

‘There is only so much time you can spend in nets and whatever the format, it is good to be out in the middle.

‘It was great to be involved against Sri Lanka though I would have liked a few more runs.

‘Hopefully if I can do that then I can stamp more authority and if you play for England you are always under pressure to do well.

‘I am new to the side so it is runs that keeps you in it.

‘Pakistan will be a tough test but hopefully I can get stuck in and help put some runs on the board.’

Vince (62) certainly showed Hampshire what they have been missing all season.

Opening up with Michael Carbery it was just like old times as Hampshire set out to chase down a target of 153 for six.

They put on 42 runs in quick time for the first wicket and when Carberry departed Vince continued with a supreme display.

In the 12th over he showed his class with three successive boundaries bringing up his 50 in 37 balls.

When Vince was finally bowled by Graham Napier, Hampshire needed to score 22 runs off the last two overs.

Vince was disappointed to see his side fall just three runs short.

He said: ‘It was disappointing not to finally get over the line.

‘Maybe how we bowled in the first six overs allowed them to get a few too many on that wicket.

‘The way our spinners brought it back was a really good effort.

‘Liam Dawson is getting better every game and we all know what Shahid Afridi can do.

‘Batting second we were hoping the ball would skid on a bit more under lights.

‘It wasn’t the easiest wicket to strike it clean but Michael Carberry managed that at the top of our innings.

‘In the middle I tried to run the field around and keep the runs coming.

‘When I got out I felt the game was still in the balance.

‘It was tantalisingly close but we couldn’t quite make it.’

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