How the Hampshire Hawks took Shane Warne’s advice and won a third Vitality Blast T20 title

Nathan Ellis revealed that at the end of the pre-game analysis of matches, bowling plans and how to beat Somerset and Lancashire Lightning in the Vitality Blast final, there was a picture of the ex-Hampshire Warne captain with the inspirational quote.

Even though previous pages were ignored, Ellis and his teammates “absolutely never gave up” after a dramatic finale in which the Hawks celebrated twice.

Mason Crane, Warne’s mentee at London Spirit last year before his untimely death, even copied his fellow spinner’s iconic stump celebration in the middle of Edgbaston after victory was confirmed.

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Nathan Ellis celebrates after Hampshire’s victory in the Vitality Blast Final. Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Hampshire were expected to ‘never give up’ after losing the first four matches in the Blast South group.

They went on to win 11 of the next 12 games and had to call on their tenacity to fight back in the final with impressive bowling to defend a seemingly below-par 152 by a point.

“The resilience and belief we’ve had in the group has come from our wins over the past two years,” captain James Vince said. “You have to go through these experiences multiple times to gain belief.

“We’ve been able to build on a few situations where we’ve defended low totals or come back from games we’ve been behind in and the belief grows and grows.

“We are never offside. It would have been easy with Lancashire leaving to sit back and let them sail to victory,

“There’s no point in me saying it, the boys have to play it and they have all year.”

Much of that comes from captaining Vince, who also saw him lift the inaugural Hundred Trophy for the Southern Brave over the past 12 months.

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Australian Ellis was enthusiastic about captaining Vince throughout the tournament, although a moment between the wild early celebrations, a late no-ball given by the TV referee and the final delivery summed up his composure and his cricketing intelligence.

“Vincey was really good in the situation,” Ellis said. “He took his time and brought us all together as the script changed with the two runs. We took a breather and made sure we were all sure of the situation.

“It allowed us to calm down, put our heads together and try our luck.

“I really enjoyed playing under Vincey. He’s definitely one of the calmest captains I’ve played with.

“On top of that, he had an incredible tournament and led from the front with his actions and performances. That’s all you can ask for.

“It’s actually a big part with the amount of cricket playing in all formats. I can’t imagine being on my feet and able to lead from the start day after day like he does.

“I got a little taste of it in The Blast and really enjoyed it. It was phenomenal.

To which Vince, as he sat next to him, joked after the accolades, “Gone contract for next season!”

Before adding to the mutual love. “I played Nelly in the Big Bash and I know how good he is,” Vince said.

“The way he regrouped and had the confidence to go for the slowest ball in that situation that he executed so well in the death. Much credit must go to him.

“He played a bit for Australia, and I’m sure he will play more, but as a fringe player you know you have it for the whole tournament, which makes a big difference.”

Vince, who finished as this season’s top running scorer in the Blast, has now won three T20 titles, following an equally bizarre 2010 finale and a quieter victory in 2012.

Next on the agenda is ending a 49-year wait for an LV=Insurance County Championship crown. They are currently second in the Premier League, just 15 points behind Surrey.

“Hopefully it’s the first game,” Vince said last night ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Cheltenham to face Gloucestershire.

“It happens quickly and we have a few days off on the road ahead.

“Fortunately, we have quite a few guys who are separated and can bring some energy to Tuesday.

“I was just a young kid in 2010, running around and enjoying the moment, whereas today I have a lot more to think about.

“These moments don’t come very often. It’s been ten years since we won this and even though it’s the third time I’ve been involved, it’s been a long time.