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Dimi's t20 delight hides the pain
12:20pm Sunday 26th August 2012 in Sport
Dimitri Mascarenhas guided Hampshire to their second Friends Life t20 title in three years despite twice tearing a shoulder muscle in the past fortnight.
The 34-year-old skipper revealed he had to play through the pain as his side fended off a late Yorkshire charge to secure a 10-run win at the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff tonight.
David Miller almost single-handedly stole away victory, with a breathless 72 from 46 balls, but Mascarenhas and his young attack held their nerve to defend their 150 for six on a slow wicket.
Mascarenhas, who had been unable to bat due to the problem, set his side towards victory with a superb new-ball spell of two for 20 before 22-year-old seamer Chris Wood stopped a rampant Miller from scoring the 14 he needed from the final over.
It was a sweet success for Mascarenhas after he missed Hampshire's Twenty20 dramatic Twenty20 victory two years ago with an Achilles injury.
And he revealed that he was a major doubt to take his place after only last week re-tearing a shoulder muscle he first injured in a LV= County Championship match earlier this month.
"I've torn my lat tendon. I tore it two weeks ago and then I tore it again last week when I tried to play Pro 40," he said.
"I had a scan and it's torn so I had to grin and bear it today. It was a huge stress to be honest.
"It's not one of those where you can have an injection.
"We were trying to sort out team selection if I didn't play and for the team balance. It's not easy when your captain is looking like he's not going to be fit. I was lucky enough to get through.
"I actually felt a bit better in the final - maybe it was the adrenaline. It took me through it. It felt a lot sorer in the semi-final, I felt like I was bowling a bit faster in the final."
Hampshire had begun the day as the bookies' outside chance to win and, after his own problems beforehand, Mascarenhas admitted his own delight.
"Personally for me - it's the best one by far," he said.
"I missed the first win two years ago because I was injured.
"To win two games today and captain a young and inexperienced side was a great thrill and one I'll remember for a long time."
Hampshire's batsmen initially had to battle on the tacky surface to post a challenging total with opener Jimmy Adams' 43 the best of a team performance.
Mascarenhas then made the initial breakthroughs in Yorkshire's chase before spinners Liam Dawson and Danny Briggs strangled the scoring rate to seemingly leave Hampshire in full control.
Miller quickly changed the momentum of the match, albeit after he was controversially reprieved by the TV umpire for a catch Neil McKenzie had claimed at mid-wicket, hitting three sixes in one Sean Ervine over.
The South African then reduced the asking rate to 21 off 12 balls to leave Mascarenhas admitting he thought the game had slipped away.
"I was concerned. It's never over until it's over especially when you've got a guy like that who is banging sixes one or two an over," he said.
"It's hard work to contain that. He wasn't hitting small sixes.
"It was concerning but in the end we bowled a couple of good overs. That's all we needed because we knew they were behind the rate."
Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale was full of praise for Miller's efforts, hailing the South African's brutal hitting, which saw him clear the ropes five times, for taking the Tykes within sight of an unlikely victory on their first ever finals day.
Gale admitted his side would have been well adrift without their overseas star's intervention but was instead able to reflect on a valiant performance that saw them at least qualify for October's lucrative Champions League in South Africa.
"When we were 40-odd for four I thought someone had to play very well to get us in a position to win and David played out of his skin," said Gale.
"Going into the last over I was backing us. Unfortunately it didn't go our way but fair play to David for getting us in a position to win that game because we were dead and buried.
"If it wasn't for him we would have been nowhere; we could have been bowled out for 80.
"It would have been nice for us to spray that champagne around, I'm not going to lie, but when we reflect on this we'll see we've achieved something as a group.
"I'd like to think we've done the club proud."
Miller, who was uncertain about whether McKenzie's catch was legitimate, described his innings as the finest of his career despite the circumstances.
"It would probably be my number one knock," said the 23-year-old. "I really enjoyed it but it was bitterly disappointing because we got in a position to win.
"I stood my ground (with the catch) because I wasn't sure. The umpires came together and apparently it wasn't out.
"From where I was it didn't look out but Neil said he had it. It was a 50-50."
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