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Mascarenhas's career ends with more semi-final heartbreak
AS the sun set on Dimitri Mascarenhas’s Hampshire career, the sense of anti-climax was almost tangible.
Three weeks after losing their FLt20 semi-final, the stage was set for Hampshire to go one better by reaching their fifth Lord’s final in nine years, ensuring a send-off to do justice to Mascarenhas’s magnificent county career.
But as he left the field at the Ageas Bowl one last time, still smiling with his bat held aloft to thank those recognising everything he has achieved in 18 years with the county, a line was being drawn under a career that ended two weeks early for most people’s liking.
Last year’s double winners had lost a second semi-final in three weeks and we had seen the last of one of Hampshire’s most popular players.
“I wasn’t expecting that sort of reception, it’s nice to be loved and nice to be wanted,” said Mascarenhas afterwards.
At one stage it looked as though he might be there at the end with a chance to score the winning runs.
But Glamorgan, particularly Jim Allenby, did not read the script.
Thanks to Allenby’s heroics with bat and ball, the game was only alive mathematically when Mascarenhas was applauded all the way to the middle, with Hampshire needing 53 from the final 23 balls.
When the final over began, it needed Mascarenhas to go one better than the over his one-day career is best known for – his five successive sixes against Yuvraj Singh at the end of England’s innings against India six years ago.
But even Mascarenhas’s wildest dreams are unlikely to have featured six successive sixes to win a game.
Allenby had dropped a sitter at short extra cover to ensure his last innings suffered a slow death.
By which point Allenby had effectively won Glamorgan the match with an all-round performance that was reminiscent of Mascarenhas in his pomp.
Allenby was also brought up in Australia and his 71-ball 74 was a decisive factor in setting Hampshire 235 to win on a wicket that would deteriorate.
It featured nine fours, three in succession against Chris Wood during a powerplay that yielded a colossal 57 at the end of the Glamorgan innings.
That was the climax to Allenby’s 50-ball partnership of 84 with Ben Wright, whose unbeaten 47 from 28 deliveries justified his recall following Glamorgan captain Marcus North’s return to Australia.
But Hampshire, having won the toss, were below par in the field. Wright survived a missed run-out chance early on in his innings and was not the only one.
His blitz included two sixes, one during Glamorgan’s match-winning powerplay as Chris Wood conceded 18 in four balls.
Mascarenhas had bowled relatively tidily, without being at his parsimonious best. After an unthreatening first spell (6-0-30-0) he switched to the Northern End for his last two overs and, following a prompt from the tannoy announcer, was given a standing ovation, as he prepared to bowl his last six balls.
For such a big game, the 4,146 crowd was disappointingly small considering Saints were not playing and the club cricket season had ended a week earlier, but credit to those who were there for giving Mascarenhas the support he deserved.
After acknowledging the applause, Mascarenhas received more throughout his final over and it reached a crescendo as he ran in to bowl the last delivery of his career. Allenby prodded it to short mid-wicket, at which point Mascarenhas received his cap and doffed it to the crowd.
Liam Dawson was the pick of the Hampshire attack, troubling the Glamorgan batsmen on a slow, spin-friendly wicket.
Allenby’s medium pace was particularly difficult to get away, his 2-18 in an opening eight-over spell even more impressive than his exploits with the bat.
James Vince and Michael Roberts had started encouragingly in the absence of England’s Michael Carberry, but they departed in successive Allenby overs, Vince bowled by a ball that was too full to pull.
Neil McKenzie was run out cheaply after being sent back by Adams, who shared 86 in 15 overs with Sean Ervine to keep Hampshire in the game.
Adams (59) survived two good lbw appeals from rookie off-spinner Andrew Salter, on 34 and 46, before a leading edge gave Hogan the first of his four wickets in as many overs.
It was also the start of Hampshire’s collapse from 159-3 to 203-8 during those last seven overs.
Ervine (54) reached his 49-ball fifty with a straight six against Cosker to bring the requirement down to 50 from 30 balls, before holing out to long on.
Exactly 17 years ago, Mascarenhas’s one-day debut ended in defeat at home to Glamorgan, but this was not the way it was supposed to finish.
At least the 36 year-old had the chance to say goodbye at the Ageas Bowl, an opportunity that has eluded many of his former Hampshire teammates.
He can now reflect on a wonderful career that reached its zenith when he led the Royals to last year’s Friends Life t20 title.
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