Fighting Hampshire spirit can break Edgbaston curse

Chris Wood Picture: Dave Voles/LMI Photography

Chris Wood Picture: Dave Voles/LMI Photography

Kyle Abbott played a strong innings alongside George Bailey. Picture: Neil Marshall

Bailey leads Hampshire fightback

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Chris Wood believes Hampshire’s proven ability to perform under pressure puts them in a good position ahead of tomorrow’s t20 finals day.

Hampshire have won the Natwest T20 Blast title in two of the past four years and are looking to better last year’s semi-final defeat to Surrey when they take on Lancashire tomorrow (2.30pm).

The 24-year-old, who was the match-winner in the 2012 t20 final against Yorkshire, said: ‘The two years where we’ve lost in the semi-finals, we’ve cruised the groups, and the two times where we’ve come third or fourth we’ve actually won it – so hopefully that’s a bit of an omen going into tomorrow.

‘I think it comes down to a bit of know-how.

‘We’ve won games that we shouldn’t really be winning.

‘I think teams recognise that now and fear that a little bit – that we never give up and we’ve always got a chance until that last wicket is taken or that last run is hit.

‘Especially when the pressure’s on, I’d like to think that people that have been there and done it before would handle that pressure slightly better.

‘If you can put on a show and a good performance when the games really matter then that’s when you win trophies, which we’ve shown we’re capable of doing the last four or five years.’

However, host venue Edgbaston hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground for the Ageas Bowl outfit.

‘Edgbaston has haunted us a little bit,’ said Wood.

‘It rained in 2011 against Somerset in our semi-final and it went to the super over and we lost, and then last year Surrey outplayed us to be honest.

‘This year, we’ve changed it up a little bit.

‘We’ve changed hotels and tried to change a bit of momentum and do something different so hopefully our luck will change.’

Lancashire are bidding to win the tournament for the first time in their history but Wood knows they will have to be at their best to beat them, especially if Jimmy Anderson or Jos Buttler make an appearance.

‘Lancashire have probably been the in-form team throughout the tournament so we’re going to have to be at the top of our game,’ added Wood.

– SHAKILA BARABHUIYA

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