By Rich Jones
Glamorgan can move back to the top of the Natwest T20 Blast South Group with a win over Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl tonight (Friday, 7pm).
Robert Croft’s side saw their seven-game unbeaten run in the competition brought to an end in disappointing fashion with a nine-wicket defeat against Gloucestershire on Sunday.
However, a win in Southampton could see them seal a spot in the quarter-finals with three games to spare if results elsewhere go their way.
It has been a hugely encouraging campaign for Glamorgan in the shortest format of the game as they look to earn their first Finals Day appearance since 2004. With a home quarter-final looking likely if they can finish strongly, they certainly stand a good chance of achieving their goal.
However, head coach Croft insists their task is not yet complete – and he has called on them to climb back to the top of the standings and strengthen their position against a struggling Hampshire side.
Croft told the club’s official website, glamorgancricket.com: “We’re pleased with the way we’ve gone about our business. We’re very grateful for what we’ve achieved so far (in T20 cricket), but it doesn’t mean a whole heap until we finish off the job.
“We know the challenges ahead of us and we’ll attack each game in isolation. If we move in the right direction, the results will take care of themselves.
“We treat every team with the same amount of respect and focus ourselves in getting a good foot in the game early on.”
Croft has introduced three youngsters to his 13-man squad, with spin bowlers Owen Morgan and Andrew Salter joined by batsman Kiran Carlson.They will be looking to in-form batsman David Lloyd to pick up where he left off having scored 152 runs in his last three T20 Blast innings.
South African-born ace Colin Ingram has also been in impressive form, blasting 19 sixes – the most in the competition – and striking 316 runs at an average of 45. Seamer Timm Van Der Gutgen, meanwhile, has led their well-drilled bowling corps superbly whilst they have been boosted by the recent arrival of fearsome Australian paceman Shaun Tait.
Hampshire have won only one of their ten T20 Blast matches in 2016 and suffered a five-wicket defeat when they faced Glamorgan at the SSE SWALEC back on June 3rd.
However, they do feature big-hitting Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi and leg-spinner Liam Dawson, who took three wickets on his T20 debut for England at the Ageas Bowl just last week.