Wounded Hampshire set for Blast charge

Dale Benkenstein. Picture: Sarah Standing (150676-3682)

Dale Benkenstein. Picture: Sarah Standing (150676-3682)

Matt Blandford in action on the cricket pitch

Cricketer takes on feat of endurance for children

  • Benkenstein fires warning to rivals
  • Ageas Bowl outfit will use cup pain to fuel fire
  • Hampshire take on Lancashire in second semi-final
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Dale Benkenstein is hoping Hampshire’s one-day pain will fuel their charge to NatWest T20 Blast glory tomorrow.

The first-team coach will steer the county for a second time at the annual showpiece at Edgbaston.

We were disappointed on Wednesday but hopefully that will fuel the fire at Edgbaston

Dale Benkenstein

Hampshire were beaten by Lancashire in the semi-final last season as their record-breaking fifth consecutive appearance at Finals Day fizzled out.

But tomorrow they will get another crack at the Lightning – and a third domestic twenty20 title – when they lock horns with the Old Trafford outfit in the second of the last-four fixtures (2.30pm).

Hampshire suffered a disappointing Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-final defeat at the hands of Gloucestershire on Wednesday.

However, Benkenstein is confident his troops will bounce back when they take to the field tomorrow.

He has revealed there is an excitement growing in the Ageas Bowl camp ahead of the competition finale – and a crucial end to the County Championship season.

Hampshire are fighting for their life in division one and a Finals Day triumph could give them extra impetus in their relegation scrap.

Benkenstein said: ‘We have had a chat and said we have five tough weeks coming up.

‘No-one said it was going to be easy but everyone is really excited for tomorrow.

‘It doesn’t always go your way, you can’t just win everything.

‘But even in the Championship, I think it will go down to that last week again. So we have to be ready to fight tomorrow and then for the four or five weeks afterwards.

‘We can’t just drop our heads after one disappointing result.

‘We have got a huge game against Lancashire and I am sure everyone knows that.

‘We were disappointed on Wednesday but hopefully that will fuel the fire at Edgbaston.’

A fantasatic 97 from Jimmy Adams and brutal finish from Will Smith (50) helped Hampshire post 217 for seven in 34 overs at Bristol on Wednesday.

However, a poor show with the ball – which included 22 extras – allowed Gloucestershire to ease to glory.

Benkenstein insists they can’t make the same mistakes tomorrow.

‘We were poor with the ball,’ said the first-team coach.

‘You talk about doing the basics and if we had given them just half of those extras, it would have made a huge difference.

‘Those things are in our hands but we have to pick our heads up and take that into an even bigger day at Edgbaston and make sure we are ready.

‘The weather hasn’t helped. Our preparation has been quite tough but we have experienced players in the dressing room and they know what they have to do to get ready.’

Northamptonshire face Birmingham Bears in the first semi-final (11am).

The winners of the two ties will then battle for the title at 6.45pm.

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