Ervine is back in Royals groove

Sean Ervine, left, and Liam Dawson walk off at The Oval after steering Hampshire to victory at Surrey   Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
Sean Ervine, left, and Liam Dawson walk off at The Oval after steering Hampshire to victory at Surrey Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
Hampshire's James Vince hits a six during the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston, Birmingham. PPP-170309-212743001

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Sean Ervine believes he has played himself back into form after guiding Hampshire to their latest Friends Life t20 success.

The popular Zimbabwean has not been his usual explosive self with the bat in this year’s t20 competition, with a run of low scores forcing him to play second fiddle to others.

But in the absence of the injured Neil McKenzie – who is set to return to the side tomorrow to face Kent – Ervine played a key role to hit an impressive 28 not out and see the Royals to a seven-wicket victory over Surrey at The Oval to continue their unbeaten start to the defence of their crown.

Ervine said: ‘I’ve been feeling a little bit out of form lately.

‘It was good to get runs in the four-day game at Canterbury.

‘But it was nice because I didn’t have to take too many risks this time.

‘I had a bit of time to play myself in and get a few boundaries, which I was pleased about.

‘As a batsman, I’m always looking for more runs.

‘It’s quite hard because we have been asked to play with more freedom but with Macca (McKenzie) not in the group, my role was to control the middle and I thought I did that really well.

‘But I was just pleased to get us over the line and be not out at the end to win the game.

‘That was the key for me.’

Ervine blasted one glorious maximum into the stands and felt that shot had helped him rediscover some of the old magic.

He said: ‘It’s fair to say that things felt a bit more at ease out there.

‘I like playing against Surrey and I’ve done pretty well against them in the past and it was good to do it again.

‘But when things aren’t going quite right for you, sometimes it just takes one shot that comes out of the middle of the bat.

‘Hopefully that six over mid-wicket might be the one that kicks me on.’

Hampshire now face winless Kent at the Ageas Bowl tomorrow (2.30pm).

A para t10 game with disabled and visually impaired cricketers will take place beforehand (11.30am).

Ervine said: ‘It’s good to be on top of the group again but we need to keep it going against Kent.

‘We don’t want to muck it up.

‘They haven’t won a game yet, but they are still a strong team.

‘It’s a crucial game for us and hopefully one we can win.’