Rob Houwing, Sport20 chief writer
McKenzie is T20 final hero
Cape Town – Veteran former Proteas batsman Neil McKenzie was player-of-the-match as Hampshire claimed England’s Friends Provident Twenty20 trophy at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on Saturday.
McKenzie, 34, who will shortly represent the Lions in the Champions League T20 on South African soil, notched a game-tilting half-century as his county won a humdinger final against Somerset.
Somerset had scored 173 for six after batting first, with another South African-born player, the England-capped wicketkeeper/batsman Craig Kieswetter, bludgeoning 71 off 59 deliveries at the top of the order.
McKenzie, batting at No 4, then masterminded the reply with his brisk 52 off 39 balls.
He was dismissed with Hampshire 10 runs short of their target to the first delivery of the 19th over, but they got level on 173 in a chaotic finish and won by virtue of losing fewer wickets (five).
Cricinfo’s Andrew McGlashan praised McKenzie for “smart, risk-free batting” until he carved a catch to cover in a “rush of blood”.
Yet another South African played an influential role in the nail-biter, Somerset’s ever-dependable Alfonso Thomas being their most effective bowler from an economy point of view (5.75) in his stint of 4-0-23-0.