Hampshire's hero Katich set to be Perth opponent

 

Simon Katich was key to Hampshire's double-winning triumph this season – but the Australian will now turn his thoughts to denying the Royals an unprecedented treble.

Katich will play for his native Perth Scorchers in the Twenty20 Champions League and he is set to line up against Hampshire in the group stages. The Royals need to come through the qualification stages first but Katich is confident they can, given their limited overs successes this season.

Hampshire won the domestic Twenty20 title in Cardiff and then followed that up on Saturday by sealing a dramatic last-ball victory over Warwickshire to take the Clydesdale Bank 40 title at Lord's. The next stop is South Africa next month.

"They have a very good chance of qualifying, coming off a great season here and then anything is possible," Katich said.

"Perth play Hampshire in the last game before, hopefully, the semi-finals. It will be a tricky day. They only know about me but I know all about them so hopefully that works in our favour."

Katich is yet to decide whether he will return to Hampshire next season and if the CB40 final was to be his last game for the Royals, it was a memorable way to bow out.

Jimmy Adams, captain in the absence of the injured Dimitri Mascarenhas, scored 66 and Sean Ervine blasted 57 with Katich adding a quickfire 35 in Hampshire's total of 244 for 5. Warwickshire's reply was led by Ian Bell's magnificent 81 and the Bears were favourites heading into the last over, with seven needed to win.

But Kabir Ali, only playing because Danny Briggs was away with the England Twenty20 team, held his nerve to bowl a dot ball with his final delivery when Warwickshire needed just one to win. The scores finished tied but with the Bears on 244 for 7, Hampshire won the trophy by virtue of losing fewer wickets.

"It was an amazing finish for the game. There was a period there we thought we weren't going to win it but we got over the line," Katich said.

"Going into the last over they were favourites. To go to the wire on the last ball, you have to hold your nerve. Kabir was magnificent.

"I missed the final in 2005. Having played at Lord's I know how special it is and I always thought it would be nice to play a domestic final. I haven't decided on next year yet. We have spoken about it but I just want to get home and let the dust settle a bit."

 

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