People scoffed at me when I was excited that Boom Boom Afridi was joining Hampshire for the defence of their T20 crown. People said he was yet another big name that Hampshire didn’t need. Whilst we won last year with a plethora of home grown stars whenever you get the chance to add arguably the best T20 player in the world to your side then you have to look at it.
Hampshire did and by teaming him up with Imran Tahir then suddenly the side have a dynamite spinning pair and that means the groundsman will prepare turning pitches and that also plays into the hands of Danny Briggs. So three spinners plus the wicket to wicket medium pace of Dimi and the fiery Dominic Cork and that bowling attack looks extremely formidable.
On the batting side of the ledger we saw Boom Boom open last night against Sussex to good effect. I am still unsure if I want him opening or the very successful Lumb/Adams combination but if Boom Boom goes boom as it were then we are all but guaranteed to get away to a fast start and if he doesn’t then you have Adams ready to come in at three at give it a welly. Then you have the classy Classy, the skillful McKensie and the power and class of Ervine and Pothas before you get to Dimi. That is again a first-rate batting attack.
There is a reason that Hampshire top the southern group and have only lost one T20 game all year – and that is quite simply they have quality in every area of the game. You also have to remember that Michael Carberry is still out and he is an extremely gifted player to come in down the order but as it stands I have no idea where he could slot in should he be fit for the Quarter-Finals and hopefully Finals Day itself.
So all in all I really do think Hampshire are the class of the field and from I have seen Sussex and Somerset are close behind – probably with the nod to Somerset with all their power although Sussex’s death bowling is insanely good. Yet again the southern group is where the cream of the crop lies and I would not be shocked if come Finals Day there were three or even four southern teams represented.
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