Misfiring Hampshire suffer another body blow

Adam Wheater. Picture: Neil Marshall

Adam Wheater. Picture: Neil Marshall

Mason Crane in action for England at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday night. Picture: Neil Marshall

England skipper excited as Crane raises game

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Giles White admitted Hampshire’s hopes of making the NatWest T20 Blast knockout stages are dwindling after their defeat at Somerset.

The Ageas Bowl outfit, who claimed the domestic crown in 2010 and 2012, slipped further off the pace in the south group following a six-wicket reverse at Taunton.

Without a remarkable reversal in form, it now looks like Hampshire will not extend their record of reaching six successive Finals Days.

James Vince lost the toss yesterday and his side’s 133 all out in 18.3 overs never looked like being enough against rivals who boast Chris Gayle and Mahela Jayawardene in their ranks.

And so it proved as the international superstars used all their nous to guide Somerset to glory with more than four overs to spare.

White admitted it was a poor display from his misfiring troops on a gloomy Somerset afternoon.

Hampshire’s director of cricket said: ‘It was a pretty bleak day all round.

‘The weather was grey and miserable and our performance was not much better than that.

‘I thought we were flat and losing wickets at regular intervals, when we batted, cost us dearly.

‘It is something I have been talking about for a while.

‘We need partnerships and when you don’t get them, like yesterday, it’s a struggle.

‘It’s difficult to put a finger on it but it looks like the quarter-finals are a long way off now.’

Hampshire are now eighth of nine in the south group, having played half of their fixtures.

They are five points adrift of the top four – with each of Glamorgan, Surrey, Sussex and Gloucestershire boasting games in hand.

While forcing their way into those crucial qualification spots is not beyond the Ageas Bowl outfit, they will need to find form very quickly.

And that begins with a trip to rock-bottom Essex on Friday when only a win will do.

Meanwhile, Somerset boosted their own hopes of making the knockout stages with yesterday’s win.

The success cut their own deficit to the top four to just a solitary point.

Gayle, who struck a match-winning 52 in the last game of his current stint at the club, said: ‘I have had a really good time here and it was good to finish with a victory.

‘Everyone has made me very welcome here. It is a great place to play your cricket and I have enjoyed every minute.

‘I felt we bowled and fielded well early on and that put us in a very good position when it came to batting.

‘It was hard to score at times but we kept ahead of the rate and, in the end, we got a deserved win.

‘The guys are really happy with that and I was pleased to get some runs and to get a 50 in my last game.’

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