Vince stays on course

James Vince and Michael Carberry. Picture: Neil Marshall
James Vince and Michael Carberry. Picture: Neil Marshall
Jonny Bairstow, right, thanks skipper Eoin Morgan. Picture: Neil Marshall

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James Vince is determined to maintain his sizzling form as Hampshire bid to take a step closer to more limited-overs success tonight.

The Royals host Surrey in the Yorkshire Bank 40 competition, fresh from their victories over Scotland and Essex which have put them in pole position for a semi-final berth.

Some will bill it as a dress rehearsal for Saturday’s Friends Life t20 semi-final showdown but this match is equally as important in the 40-over competition with Hampshire remarkably still on course to defend both of the limited-overs titles they won last year.

And Vince, who has blasted 75 not out, 68 and 60 in his past three knocks in the shorter formats, is in prime form at the perfect time.

The 22-year-old said: ‘It is nice. I feel I am timing it pretty well.

‘And the last few knocks have certainly helped.’

Vince started the campaign with a fabulous 129 not out at Essex back in May but then followed that with six scores below 50 as he searched for consistency.

He has hit back in style in recent times and is now second in the Hampshire scoring stakes only to opening partner Michael Carberry.

‘After the first innings I had in the YB40 this year, I didn’t get another score for a while,’ Vince said.

‘So it has been nice now to get a couple of fifties on the bounce and put some runs on the board.’

Hampshire currently lead the group B table and will take a giant step towards qualification if they can beat Surrey tonight. They then face a trip to Lancashire next week.

And that could prove to be the pivotal fixture before wrapping up the group phase with a visit to Derbyshire.

But Vince is determined to focus on the job in hand.

He said: ‘We have got a very big game against Surrey.

‘And if we can win that we will be in a very strong position.

‘We are top of the group now and if we can build a lead by beating Surrey we will be in a great position.’

While a win would put the Royals in command and on course for a place in the last four, it would also put down a marker for Friends Life t20 finals day at Edgbaston this weekend when the two sides meet in the second semi-final.

But Surrey inflicted one of only two defeats Hampshire have suffered in this year’s competition back in May as they dished out a nine-wicket hammering at The Oval.

Much will depend on Vince and Carberry’s opening partnership, which has fired so frequently this term.

And Vince believes being a part of that fruitful pairing relieves the pressure on his own shoulders.

He said: ‘It is nice because there is no pressure on one person to score runs.

‘Generally one of us, if not both of us, will be scoring at a good rate, so it is nice and relaxing.

‘And when you are striking it as well as Carbs and myself have been it is nice to be out there.’