Auckland v Hampshire, CLT20 qualifier, Centurion October 10, 2012

Mascarenhas slams Centurion pitch


Hampshire captain Dimitri Mascarenhas has criticised the pitch at SuperSport Park in Centurion, calling it "no good for 20-over cricket" after his team was knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers having played only one match. Hampshire posted 121 on a surface with inconsistent bounce that did not allow the ball to carry through quickly, and Auckland reached the target with 33 deliveries to spare.

"When we saw the pitch yesterday, we thought there was no way we could play on the wicket," Mascarenhas said. "We knew that whoever won the toss would win the game. I heard there was a chance the match would be moved to the Wanderers but obviously that didn't happen." There has been no confirmation that a request was put in to change the venue and the second match continued as scheduled in Centurion.

When the Hampshire team saw the pitch on Monday it was being watered, which groundsman Hilbert Smit said was "standard practice." He admitted he may have "misread the weather," when he watered the pitch during last week's heat wave in anticipation of no rain early this week. Instead, 38 millimetres fell on Monday in the summer's first storms, and the water table rose substantially.

"Because of that [the rain] we knew the pitch would be slow and a few deliveries would hold back. But one team still scored at more than eight runs to the over and there is nothing wrong with that," Smit said, referring to Auckland's chase.

Mascarenhas said the pitch had eased after the heavy roller was used in the innings break and it "definitely got better" to bat on. He thought his team had lost the match because of the batting performance. "Not many teams defend scores of around 120. When you are, you're desperate for wickets and in doing that, you will give a few away."

Rather than a low-scoring game, Mascarenhas would have preferred a strip with runs in it. "In 20-over cricket, you want a flat wicket and you want to see runs on the board. You don't want the ball to be dominating the whole time," he said. "I am a bowler and even I don't want the ball to dominate."

Auckland captain Gareth Hopkins was less scathing about the surface. "The toss did play a little part in it and it was easier to bat on second, but I don't think it was too tricky up front," he said. "It was a little bit slower than the pitch we had last night at the Wanderers and one or two balls did something funny."

Hopkins was the happier of the two captains not just because his team won but because Auckland have now qualified for the main draw. Their victories in both group matches mean they will progress irrespective of the result between Hampshire and Sialkot tomorrow.

Hampshire were gutted not only to be out of the competition in the space of a day but because, as Mascarenhas said, "The most disappointing thing is that it was all in the toss, it was decided on that."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Milind on October 11, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    When is sialkot match. Our players are best

  • Jens on October 11, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    If the toss had such a big effect, why did T&T winning the toss lose in the later game on exactly the same pitch?

  • Nerav on October 11, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    if the toss makes such a big difference i would prefer the idea that captains bid for the right to choose who bats or who fields first. That way if team A want to bat first they can bid 20runs, if team B has a lower bid of runs then team A decieds and team B gets 20runs added to the score.

  • Owen on October 11, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    I think that the problem was not that the pitch was bad, it was because Hampshire turned up and thought 'there was no way we could play on the wicket'. Whenever a team turns up and thinks that, it doesn't matter how well/badly the pitch actually plays, 9 times out of 10 they get skittled for nothing!

  • Hitesh on October 11, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    Bad loser in all apsects!!!

  • Dummy4 on October 11, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    Hamlshires batting was pretty poor today. Carberry played well for his 65 ish but did allow too many dot balls early in his innings which put pressure on his partners who did play daft shots to get out. Afridi does not think when he bats( as its a case of see ball miss cue ball) afridi needs to concentrate on his batting mentality if he is to secure his place in the Pakistan team. Mascharanus didn't like the pitch as it did not suit his dibly dobly bowling. Quality pitch it up line and length bowling will take wickets. Hampshire lacked a quality fast bowler but bowled too short and that's why guptill and co smashed Hampshire all over the park.

  • Andrew on October 11, 2012, 0:12 GMT

    If the match was close - fair call, but a 20 over innings is not going to have as big of an impact as what the scorelines suggest.

  • Alley on October 11, 2012, 0:01 GMT

    cry baby dimitri lol................................better accept it .

  • Dummy4 on October 10, 2012, 22:45 GMT

    Auckland lost the toss in their first game against Sialkot, but won the match.

  • associate cricket fan on October 10, 2012, 21:56 GMT

    then how did Auckland chased in 14 overs?

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