Dimi Mascarenhas pulled no punches as he told his Hampshire troops: We cannot afford to be so slack in future.
The Royals stumbled to a four-wicket victory over Sussex last night as Neil McKenzie hit a match-winning boundary from the final ball of the match with the home side needing one run for the win.
But chasing a modest total of 119 after an impressive bowling performance, Hampshire made a pig’s ear of their batting display, having got themselves into cruise-control mode.
And that sloppiness allowed Sussex back into a game they had no right to be in as it went down to the wire.
Hampshire skipper Mascarenhas said: ‘It got a little bit too close.
‘It could have easily gone the other way and that would have been a horror loss.
‘Their total was miles below what it should have been. It should have been 150 par on that. It was a beautiful wicket.
‘Neither team batted well on it.
‘I can’t put my finger on it. In the past couple of games, we’ve batted well to knock them off but this game was different.
‘We are going to have to play a lot better than that if we want to contend in the finals, that’s for sure.
‘I wouldn’t say it was a lucky escape – I always thought we were winning the game.
‘But when it gets down to the last over like that, anything can happen.
‘I want us to bat a lot better than that. I honestly thought there was no way I would even put my pads on – I was just chilling and enjoying the night.
‘It’s one of those things to show that you can never take t20 for granted. Things can happen quickly. and then, bang, I was in.’
Thankfully, it was McKenzie and Mascarenhas in the middle needing six runs from the final over to secure the win after a shock collapse.
And with the scores level, Scott Styris served up a full toss with the final ball, which McKenzie gleefully clubbed to the boundary.
But Mascarenhas felt his batsmen let him down and should have finished the job long before he was required.
He said: ‘There was nothing wrong with the wicket. We bowled exceptionally well to restrict them to 118 and we should have knocked them off in 16 or 17 overs.
‘I suppose it was a little bit of leaving it to someone else. The top order got in and it was their job to finish it – they bat at the top of the order for a reason.
‘When Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams were going well, they didn’t need to do anything silly. They just had to knock them around and did that well
‘After six overs, Sussex were nowhere – they were not winning that game and they nearly pulled off a miraculous win – or we nearly gave it to them.
‘But I always thought we’d win.
‘I just kept thinking “please don’t take it to the last over” because we never know what can happen in the final over.
‘It shows that in t20, you can win from anywhere.’
Mascarenhas now leads his side at Middlesex tomorrow for the next t20 clash at Richmond.
He said: ‘It’s a massive game. They’ve got some really good players and they bat a long way down.
‘You never know what kind of wicket you will get on these out grounds so we will have to front up and treat every game as a final.
‘I don’t think we did that this time.’