Colin Ingram scored his second consecutive half-century to overpower Hampshire at the SWALEC Stadium and boost the Welsh county’s chances of a home quarter-final and second trip to Finals Day on the bounce. It was, perhaps, a case of power and substance over the dazzling style offered by James Vince and Rilee Rossouw at the start of the match.
Vince got Hampshire’s innings underway with two breathtakingly beautiful boundaries: first a serenely lofted six that was spilled by a gentleman in the front row, then an on drive caressed to the ropes without a noise. Rossouw joined in with two consecutive sixes, the second of which disappeared into the trees. They were batting with all the freedom of players who knew they had no chance of qualification.
Vince punted a low catch to extra cover, but Rossouw continued the fine work of his fallen comrade. With a fast outfield and bowlers not quite hitting their line and length, Rossouw smashed anything in the slot for six, and fuller balls were crunched for four. His half-century came off just 22 deliveries, but a couple of balls later, he slogged Andrew Salter against the wind, with a slight top edge, and perished without adding to his 50.
Whether a psychological switch was flipped, or whether Glamorgan started to work out that bowlers who took pace off the ball were getting a few to stick in the pitch, the match started to turn in the hosts’ favour. The flow of boundaries dried up; Sam Northeast and Liam Dawson holed out to the slower bowlers; Joe Weatherley was brilliantly stumped from a leg-side wide off Craig Meschede. After having been 90-2 at the end of the eighth over, Hampshire were 98-3 at the halfway stage, and then a distinctly ordinary 125-6 after 16 overs.
Glamorgan were committed in the field throughout the innings, and they kept Hampshire without a boundary for nine overs in the middle of the innings. After the powerplay, the bowlers hit their lengths well and were nearly impossible to get away comfortably, despite the pitch promising runs. Chris Wood tried to ramp Hogan in desperation and was caught by the short fine leg. Dale Steyn helped them stutter to 151-8, which looked about 30 runs short of par.
The chase started unpromisingly for Hampshire: four leg byes down the leg side and a poor ball saw Chris Wood’s opening over go for ten. The first great shot came when Meschede punched the mighty Dale Steyn through the leg side for four. Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ struck up in the crowd. Glamorgan may never have been champions, but they are still very much in contention to be kings of the jungle in 2018.
Vince scored a direct hit from the deep to remove Aneurin Donald, but this only brought Colin Ingram to the crease, in immaculate form and riding high in confidence. Despite some ferocious pace from Steyn, recalling some of his former glories, Ingram survived and even thrived.
When Vince brought on Gareth Berg, Ingram took the change of pace in his stride and hit the ball out of the ground. When Vince brought on Ryan Stevenson, Ingram picked up a full delivery and deposited it over the leg side for another six. Stevenson looked despondently as Ingram took a Stick Cricketesque 20 off his first over. Vince is a strong one-day captain, but this tournament has been eminently forgettable for him as a skipper and as a batsman.
Ingram, on the other hand, has every chance of making this tournament one of the highlights of his entire career. He was hitting the ball so hard, it stung the hands of the spectators who tried to catch him in the crowd. He may have been born in Port Elizabeth, but he looked completely at home slaying the Hampshire bowlers.
The only consolation for Hampshire was the bowling of their young Afghan spinner, Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Following the cataclysmic over from Stevenson, he went for just six. With his final delivery, he drew Ingram into a clumsy lunge that made him look up at the bowler in respectful bemusement.
In the absence of scoreboard pressure, though, Glamorgan went about their business with the calm professionalism of a side that have won four games in a row and had every intention of extending that run. Ingram’s fifty was greeted with warm applause by his team mates, but he barely celebrated. He averages a half-century every four innings in Twenty20, so they must barely seem noteworthy to him.
Credit should also go to Meschede (32 off 28) and in particular Kiran Carlson (31* off 21), who feasted on the unfortunate Stevenson in his second and final over, but as Glamorgan turn their attentions towards the knockout stages, their seemingly invincible skipper will know that much of his side’s fortunes rest on his broad shoulders.