AS he prepares for today’s YB40 semi-final, Dimi Mascarenhas finds it hard to comprehend it is his last Ageas Bowl appearance.
Since Hampshire’s move from Northlands Road 12 years ago, Mascarenhas has seen it develop into a ground where international limited-overs records are now regularly broken.
He was on onlooker as Aaron Finch hit his world-record 156 from 63 balls in last week’s Twenty20 international.
“That was a special night, every England player is now saying it’s the best one-day wicket in the country which is a real feather in the cap of [Hampshire groundsman] Nigel Gray and his staff,” said 36 year-old Mascarenhas.
“Having been here when we changed in Portakabins, everyone’s worked really hard to make it what it is today. When the hotel’s finished it will be amazing. It’s a phenomenal place to play and it’s been good to us – we’ve been hard to beat here.”
For Mascarenhas, Hampshire’s first Ageas Bowl semi-final stands out in the memory.
“The [2005 C & G Trophy] semi-final win here against Yorkshire, when Sean Ervine made an amazing hundred, was very special. I still remember Shane Watson running out Anthony McGrath from the boundary – a huge wicket!”
Ervine scored another century as Hampshire beat Warwickshire in their first Lord’s final for 13 years a fortnight later. A fifth Lord’s final in nine years would be a fitting way for Mascarenhas to go out and conclude an era in which he has played alongside some of the world’s best.
“All I ever wanted to do was play professional cricket and I’ve had a great time doing it at the same county with some great players,” he said.
“I’ve played with Watson, Warne, Pietersen and Tremlett but our recent success has been phenomenal, this team is as good as any I’ve played in. “Ervine’s been instrumental and McKenzie also performs in every big game. They’re the two boys who have consistently performed over the last few years.” Going one better than Hampshire did at Finals Day three weeks ago would go a long way to making up for one of the biggest disappointments of Mascarenhas’s career.
“It was tough to take because it was probably our worst performance of the comp and we did it on the biggest stage,” he said. “But this is a young group. Who knows what it could go on to achieve.”
Hampshire have named a 13-man squad for today’s semi-final, including Michael Roberts in the absence of England’s Michael Carberry.
Former Hampshire fast bowler Simon Jones is included in Glamorgan’s 12-man squad.
Hampshire (possible): Vince, Roberts, Adams, McKenzie, Dawson, Ervine, Wheater, Mascarenhas, Wood, Sohail Tanvir, Briggs, Griffiths, Bates Glamorgan (from): Rees, Cooke, Goodwin, Allenby, Wright, James, Wagg, Smith, Salter, Cosker, Hogan, S. Jones.