Fallen Giants: Hampshire and Somerset’s Miserable T20 Blast

T20 Blast

When Hampshire and Somerset met in a one-sided semi-final at Cardiff in 2012, the match was the third consecutive fixture between the two teams at a T20 Blast Finals Day.

Hampshire, who went on to win that tournament, were three years into an unprecedented run of six Finals Days in a row, which lasted until 2014.

Their opponents had finished runners-up in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 tournaments, to Sussex, Hampshire and Leicestershire respectively, and were the country’s premier one-day side.

However, fast forward to 2016 and the sides prop up the bottom of a nine-team South Group in the T20 Blast after a combined five wins in 22 fixtures.

Where has it gone wrong for the South-West pair?

Hampshire: Injuries and Poor Recruitment

Hampshire’s run of six consecutive Finals Days in a row was founded on a strong batting core, a polished bowling unit and a handful of excellent overseas signings.

But in 2016, those resources have been decimated.

If last season is taken as a point of direct comparison, there is one clear factor that has hit Hampshire especially hard this season: the loss of captain James Vince to England duty for a majority of the season.

Vince was the linchpin of the Hampshire batting order last season, with a competition-high 710 runs in his 16 innings at an average of 59.17 and an impressive strike-rate of 134.47.

He was supported by Michael Carberry (456 runs) and Owais Shah (402), but both have struggled this year. Carberry lacked fluency in his six innings this season before the sad news of a discovery of a cancerous tumour on Thursday evening, and Shah was released at the end of 2015. Importantly, no batsman has been able to fill the void left by those three, and the days in which Jimmy Adams, Neil MacKenzie and Sean Ervine were prolific run-scorers appear long gone.

Fallen Giants: Hampshire and Somerset’s Miserable T20 Blast

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