How Hampshire Hawks lived up to Shane Warne’s advice – and claimed a third Vitality Blast T20 title

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Hampshire Hawks did exactly what Shane Warne told them - ‘Never give up; just absolutely never give up.’

Nathan Ellis revealed that at the end of the pre-match analysis of match-ups, bowling plans and how to beat Somerset and Lancashire Lightning on Vitality Blast Finals Day was a picture of former Hampshire captain Warne along with the inspirational quote.

Even if the previous pages were ignored, Ellis and his teammates ‘absolutely never gave up’ after a dramatic final over which saw the Hawks celebrate twice.

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Mason Crane, mentoree of Warne at London Spirit last year before his untimely death, even copied his fellow leg spinner’s iconic stump waving celebration in the middle of Edgbaston after the victory was confirmed.

Nathan Ellis celebrates after Hampshire's victory in the Vitality Blast final. Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty ImagesNathan Ellis celebrates after Hampshire's victory in the Vitality Blast final. Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images
Nathan Ellis celebrates after Hampshire's victory in the Vitality Blast final. Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Hampshire needed to ‘never give up’ after losing the first four South group matches of the Blast.

They proceeded to win 11 of the following 12 games and had to call on their toughness to fight back in the final with an awesome bowling display to defend a seemingly below-par 152 by one run.

‘The resilience and belief we have had within the group has come from winning over the last couple of years,’ captain James Vince said. ‘You have to experience those experiences a couple of times to gain the belief.

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‘We have been able to lean on a few situations where we have defended low totals or come back from games we’ve been behind in and the belief grows and grows.

‘We are never out of the game. It would have been easy with the start Lancashire got off to sit back and let them cruise to victory,

‘There is no point in me just saying it, the boys have to act it and they have all year.’

Much of that comes from Vince’s captaincy, which has also seen him lift the inaugural Hundred trophy for the Southern Brave in the last 12 months.

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Australian Ellis was enthused by Vince’s captaincy throughout the tournament, although a moment between the first wild celebrations, a belated no ball given by the TV umpire, and the final delivery summed up his calmness and cricketing intelligence.

‘Vincey was really good in the situation,’ Ellis said. ‘He took the time and brought us all together as the scenario changed with the two runs. We had a breath and made sure we were all sure of the situation.

‘That went some way to calming us down and getting our heads back and have a go.

‘I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing under Vincey. He is definitely one of the calmer captains I’ve played under.

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‘On top of that, he has had an amazing tournament and led from the front with his actions and his performances. That is all you can ask for.

‘It is actually a big role with the amount of cricket by playing in all formats. I can’t imagine being up and about and being able to lead from the front day in, day out like he does.

‘I’ve had a small glimpse of it in the Blast and I’ve really enjoyed it. He’s been phenomenal.’

To which Vince, while sitting next to him, joked after the praise: ‘Contract secured for next season!’

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Before adding to the mutual love-in. ‘I’ve played against Nelly in the Big Bash and know how good he is,’ Vince said.

‘The way he regrouped and had the confidence to go to the slower ball in that situation he has executed so well at the death. A lot of credit has to go to him.

‘He’s played a bit for Australia, and I’m sure he will play more, but as a player on the fringes you know you get them for the whole tournament, which makes a big difference.’

Vince, who ended up as this season’s leading run scorer in the Blast, has now won three T20 titles, after a similarly bizarre finale in 2010 and a more sedate victory in 2012.

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Next on the agenda is to end a 49-year wait for an LV= Insurance County Championship crown. They are currently second in Division One, only 15 points behind Surrey.

‘Hopefully this is part one,’ Vince said last night ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Cheltenham to face Gloucestershire.

‘It does come around quickly and we have a couple of away days on the road coming up.

‘Luckily we have quite a few guys who are separate and can bring the energy come Tuesday.

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‘I was just a young kid in 2010 running around and enjoying the moment whereas today I have a lot more to think about.

‘These moments don’t come around very often. It is ten years since we last won this and even though it is the third one I’ve been a part of, it has been a long time.’

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