Calm exterior hides batsman’s true feelings

Michael Carberry provided the platform for team-mate Neil McKenzie to hit the Royals' winning runs against Sussex Picture: LMI Photography

Michael Carberry provided the platform for team-mate Neil McKenzie to hit the Royals' winning runs against Sussex Picture: LMI Photography

Vikram Dawson celebrates a wicket. Picture: Keith Woodland

Dynamic Dawson inspires Portsmouth to important victory

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Neil McKenzie revealed he is a master of hiding his emotions as he kept his cool to steer Hampshire to victory.

The South African batsman hit an unbeaten 71 as the Royals claimed a five-wicket win at Sussex to continue their impressive start to the defence of their t20 crown.

But while others appeared to be losing their heads as the visitors made heavy work of a relatively modest run chase, McKenzie used all of his experience to pick the right moments to attack the hosts’ bowlers.

And he timed his innings to perfection once again, striking the winning boundary to seal the victory with three balls to spare.

‘I might look calm but I’m not. The old ticker is certainly going,’ McKenzie smiled.

‘I guess it’s just about being focused and knowing the areas I want to hit.

‘I know that I can’t hit the sightscreen with every shot but I also know that the bowler is not going to get it in the perfect spot every time.

‘It’s about backing yourself in those situations.

‘You get into that last over and I knew I needed a boundary and then we got a bit of a bonus with the overthrows.

‘But I was confident we would be able to get there.

‘It’s always good to come out on the right side of a game like that.’

While McKenzie played the starring role, he paid tribute to Michael Carberry, who hit 50, and the fightback from the Hampshire bowlers to get themselves back into the game after a tough start.

McKenzie said: ‘Carbs playing the way he did gave me a chance to take my time to get myself in.

‘He was whacking a few out of the park and it meant I could knock a few singles around.

‘Him hitting it like that took a lot of pressure off me.

‘But our bowlers did a great job as well. Woody (Chris Woods) did really well up front and then the spinners came on and really tied them down.

‘I thought the boys showed real character when things didn’t go our way.

‘I thought 155-160 would have been about par on that wicket but we lost a couple of early wickets and that pegged us back.

‘But we got there.’

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