Relived McKenzie signs off with the t20 trophy

Dimi Mascarenhas lifts the trophy after Hampshire win the Friends Life T20 final at Cardiff
Dimi Mascarenhas lifts the trophy after Hampshire win the Friends Life T20 final at Cardiff
James Vince. Picture: Sarah Standing (170455-8793)

Vince relishing ‘second chance’

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Relieved Neil McKenzie signed off for Hampshire and insisted: Justice was done.

The South African was involved in the Friends Life t20 final’s pivotal moment when Yorkshire’s David Miller presented a low catch to him at short mid-wicket from Liam Dawson’s bowling.

The TV umpire then decided the pictures were inconclusive and allowed Miller a stay of execution.

It left McKenzie and the Royals fuming – particularly as Miller, who was on seven at the time, went on to blast a succesion of boundaries on his way to an unbeaten 72 that looked like winning the game.

But while McKenzie admitted he could see the trophy slipping through Hampshire’s grasp with each passing boundary, he made his feelings clear on having his honesty so openly questioned after the Royals triumphed.

McKenzie said: ‘I definitely took a clean catch – there is no doubt about it but the umpires tried to review it and it came back inconclusive.

‘We obviously know with TV coverage that those catches are hard to judge.

‘But I don’t play my cricket that way. I play hard and fair. I had no doubt.

‘I got grass stuck under my fingernails and you just know when you dive forward and pick it up like that.

‘I had one the other day where I knew it didn’t carry and all the other guys said it did.

‘I knew it didn’t so I turned it down.

‘Miller is a quality player and the very next over I saw three sixes sailing back over Sean Ervine’s head.

‘So I knew it was a pivotal moment in the game.

‘It felt like the longest seven or eight overs of my life.

‘Thankfully it didn’t matter in the end – the good guys won!

‘But I’m glad things ended up in our favour otherwise I would have been a bit bitter about it.

‘It was a fantastic team and squad effort across the whole competition.

‘Everyone played their part at some point.’

While McKenzie didn’t prosper with the bat on finals day, it was his superb innings in the quarter-final that got the Royals to Cardiff.

But now he will play his final game for the club this season in today’s CB40 clash at Durham.

He said: ‘I’ve stayed a month and a half too long in terms of where I was supposed to be.

‘They wanted me to extend my stay but I have extended already.

‘There are a lot of things going on back home and a few personal things I need to take care of – nothing bad but a few things that add up.’

With Hampshire sealing their place in the Champions League competition by making the final, McKenzie has told his team-mates he is more than happy to host in October when the event is held in his native South Africa.

He will be playing for Highveld Lions – one of the other teams in the tournament.

He said: ‘I’ve told them they can stay at my house and they just need to bring the drinks!

‘But I’d love to play against the boys in the Champions League.’