Mascarenhas calls for improvements

The Hampshire players stand in silence as they remember Surrey's Tom Maynard  Picture: Robin Jones
The Hampshire players stand in silence as they remember Surrey's Tom Maynard Picture: Robin Jones
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Dimi Mascarenhas has urged Hampshire’s top-order batsmen to get into the practice nets and right the wrongs of their opening Friends Life t20 defeat.

The Royals were well beaten at the Ageas Bowl last night as Middlesex Panthers eased to a six-wicket victory.

James Vince was the only home batsman to look in decent touch during the South Group clash, after hitting an excellent unbeaten 64.

Meanwhile, in reply, visiting batsmen Paul Stirling and Dawid Malan showed how to build a match-winning partnership as they put on 107 runs for the Panthers’ third wicket to pave the way for an easy win.

It didn’t make for easy viewing for the Ageas Bowl faithful, and Royals t20 skipper Mascarenhas admitted his side were well short of runs.

He said: ‘We haven’t played a t20 this season so we have to get into it, but no excuses – we were 20 runs short.

‘We know how to play t20. We’ve been very successful the past two years and it’s just a matter of the top order knuckling down and not throwing their wickets away.

‘I just felt there were a few soft dismissals and that’s cost us in the end.

‘We lost early wickets and we couldn’t come back from that.

‘It’s always great to take early wickets – it’s the best way to slow the run rate – and we got a couple early, but those two (Malan and Stirling) got away.

‘Malan played a beautiful knock. He batted really nicely.

‘And Stirling had a bit of luck. He chanced his arm but he hit a couple of big sixes as well.

‘Once those two guys got in you saw how good the wicket was and it was hard to get them out.

‘Unfortunately, we didn’t have two guys that got in and made 60s and 70s.’

Mascarenhas, however, was impressed by Vince’s contribution, as the 21-year-old showed maturity beyond his years to guide the Royals to a competitive total after being 83 for five at one stage.

And the all-rounder has urged the England Lions’ team-mates to take note ahead of Hampshire’s next t20 encounter – against Kent on Friday.

‘Vincey just played a beautiful knock last night,’ he added.

‘He summed it up – there were wickets falling around him the whole time and he paced his innings beautifully.

‘It’s one of the better knocks I’ve seen from Vincey in a t20 game under the circumstances.

‘We’ve got a good chance to get in the nets and think about where we went wrong in this game.

‘The boys are disappointed. They’re not stupid, they’re experienced guys and they know where they’ve made mistakes.

‘They’ll be knuckling to ensure that doesn’t happen again.’