White: Every player has played part in push for t20 title

Owais Shah. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
Owais Shah. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
Action from the 2000 match between Hampshire and Kent - the last played at Burnaby Road

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Giles White believes it has been a real team effort that has seen Hampshire reach their fifth successive Natwest t20 Blast finals day.

Hampshire secured their place in the last four against Nottinghamshire thanks to a match-winning 93 not out from skipper James Vince.

They chased down Nottinghamshire’s target of 198 with an over to spare and it is that ability to produce when it matters that could be crucial tomorrow.

Unlike previous years, White says the runs have been shared throughout the team, with less dependency on the top order.

The director of cricket said: ‘Most of the sides are fairly similar in talent but it’s about producing it on the day and hopefully that’s where the experience of being in finals day before counts, and the fact that every player has played their part.

‘We haven’t been a side where we dominated because the top three have scored all the runs, which has been the case in the past.

‘This year we’ve all had to scrap through and everyone has played a part and got us over the line, so hopefully that’ll stand us in good stead for finals day.’

There have been vital contributions from the likes of Sean Ervine, Adam Wheater and Matt Coles over the group stages of the competition, but one player who has stood out for White is Owais Shah, who returns to the fold tomorrow.

The right-hander was signed on a match-by-match basis at the start of the season and played in five of the t20 group games.

In that time he contributed 149 runs, including an unbeaten 50 against Essex and 49 not out against Middlesex – both of which helped Hampshire to vital victories early on.

Shah comes in for the unavailable Glenn Maxwell, and with Kyle Abbott also out, Hampshire will be without an overseas player for the first time on finals day.

‘Owais wasn’t in our squad at the beginning of the year but he was added when Glenn Maxwell got called up and Liam Dawson got injured,’ said White.

‘He’s fitted in the team really well. He’s very experienced in this format of the game and he has a fantastic record.

‘His performances for us have been outstanding and won us games early on in the season.

‘He’s got a lot of respect within the group.’

White added: ‘I think there is a lot of experience in the team not just in the games played but in the success they’ve had and it serves them well in the big games.

‘It’s what the boys train for and it’s our goal to get into the final.

‘We just want to give a good account of ourselves on finals day.

‘When we’re at our best we’re a match for every side. It’s about playing the best 40 overs of cricket.’

– SHAKILA BARABHUIYA