Ryan McLaren reckons Hampshire have plenty to be positive about despite a heavy NatWest T20 Blast defeat to Middlesex at the Ageas Bowl.
The South African all-rounder, who was making only his second appearance in the shortest form of the game this season, is excited by the performances of some of the club’s young talents.
Four of last night’s side only made their twenty20 debuts this season and McLaren recognises it is a steep learning curve.
Middlesex proved too powerful in all aspects of the game as they strolled to an easy 43-run win.
And McLaren felt the visitors made their extra experience count.
‘We were pretty much in control for the first 15 overs,’ said the Hampshire all-rounder.
‘Unfortunately we let it slip at the back end with the ball.
‘Our spinners bowled well in the middle but then we just got the length wrong in the last five overs.
‘We should have been chasing about 150 but it ended up being 180, which was always going to be tough.
‘It is important to take the learning out of it.
‘A lot of the younger guys in the team can do well from this experience.
‘George Bailey controlled the innings when they were three or four wickets down.’
Middlesex crashed 70 runs off the last five overs – which in reality took the game away from Hampshire.
The visitors plundered 20 off Gavin Griffiths’ 17th over and Brad Wheal went for 28 in his final two overs.
McLaren felt it was a pity his side were unable to build on the three consecutive wins they had racked up prior to the arrival of Middlesex.
‘Our execution at the end of their innings let us down,’ said the 33-year-old, who took two for 35 before scoring 23 in a late cameo with the bat.
‘You always want to keep momentum going for as long as possible.
‘It was a pity we couldn’t build on our two previous wins and the confidence building of the team.
‘There are a lot of positives to look forward to, though.
‘The young guys are coming into the team, putting up their hands and showing what they are made of.
‘Their contribution bodes well for the future.
‘Hampshire have had six years of success and continuity of faces.
‘There does come a time, however, when the younger guys coming through need to be given an opportunity.
‘For Hampshire that is now and it is good to see what they are doing.
‘The team is still very raw and especially in the last few overs we bowled it showed.
‘I am sure if we take the learning from it we will be better for it.
‘We have to give credit to Middlesex for outplaying us.
‘They had wickets in hand going into the last few overs and made it count.
‘We were not able to get ourselves into that sort of position.
‘Chasing 180 runs we had to go for it from the word go.’