James Vince has told his middle-order batsmen: It’s time to start firing again.
The Hampshire t20 skipper steered his side to a narrow six-run win at Glamorgan on Wednesday and leads them into battle again at The Oval tonight in their showdown with Surrey (6.30pm).
But while Vince, opening partner Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams have often laid the foundations for big scores, the rest of the batting line-up have yet to make a significant contribution in this year’s Natwest T20 Blast.
While that trio have seven half-centuries between them, only Owais Shah has also reached the landmark once from below the number three berth.
Australian overseas star Glenn Maxwell has yet to dominate a game since his arrival, with a top score of 30 from four innings.
But Sean Ervine (38), Adam Wheater (34), Will Smith (25 not out) and Matt Coles (42) have also been unable to find the necessary fire-power down the order.
It’s worth noting the fact that, with Vince, Carberry and Adams often being so reliable, it has offered less of an extended opportunity to the others.
But in the past two wins over Gloucestershire and Glamorgan, Hampshire should have been looking at posting a score of 200 but eventually came up well short.
After reaching the midway point in their innings at 97 for two against Gloucestershire at the Ageas Bowl, they reached 180 for six.
Then at Cardiff, after racing to 96 for one, they stuttered to 170 for six.
Vince said: ‘I think we were only around par at Glamorgan.
‘After the start we had, to get around 100 after 10 overs, it would have been nice to push on and get closer to 200.
‘But it’s happened a couple of times now and it’s something we will focus on.
‘We were focusing on it coming into the Glamorgan game.
‘But it’s an area where we need to improve.’
There are different options available to address the issue, but with two wins from both games, it may not be seen as a priority.
Smith continues to impress but has little opportunity to score big runs batting at number seven, while Shah may be wondering what he has to do to earn a recall, with Sean Ervine’s place coming under threat.
The Zimbabwean all-rounder has barely been used as a bowler, with just 11 overs in eight matches, and he is averaging a lowly 18 with the bat in this year’s competition.
But on the flip side, Ervine has been a constant part of the side’s success in recent years and has shown many times that he is well capable of winning a match on his own.
While there are selection decisions to be made, Vince is keen to continue the team’s march at the top of the south division ahead of trips to Surrey (tonight) and Kent next week.
He said: ‘I think we have got two big games coming up against Surrey and Kent.
‘They are teams near the top so it makes them even more important.
‘We are going to Surrey and if we can get a win there, it will put us in a really strong position.
‘We had a bit of a blip away at Somerset where we fell short. But since then, we have bounced back brilliantly and we have been defending scores really well.
‘We will be looking to carry on doing that.’