Hampshire v Lancashire: Rob Key praises centurion Michael Carberry
Michael Carberry could be an England opener but he plays like a great Sri Lankan one, says Rob Key.
Last Updated: 08/08/13 11:10am
That was Rob Key's view after Hampshire opener Michael Carberry scored a 66-ball hundred to fire his side past Lancashire and into the Friends Life T20 Finals Day for the fourth year on the trot.
Key, who played with left-hander Carberry at Kent in the mid-2000s, told Sky Sports that Muttiah Muralitharan once claimed he saw traits of the blistering Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya in the 32-year-old Englishman.
And the ex-Kent skipper says Carberry displayed those similarities at The Ageas Bowl on Wednesday evening as reigning T20 champions Hampshire edged Lancashire by a solitary run.
"When [Muttiah] Muralitharan was our overseas player at Kent and Carberry had just come to us, Muralitharan said he saw a little bit of Jayasuriya in him," said Key, who formed part of Sky Sports' commentary team at the Ageas Bowl.
"And the shots Carberry played today [Wednesday] were [like Jayasuriya's]; whippy and played with quick wrists. He plays the short ball so well and is so quick onto the back foot.
"He mullers you away - and the only time he struggled to find the middle of the bat was he was on 97-98 - but he must enjoy this as he is unlikely to score another 10 T20 hundreds."
On Carberry, who has played one Test for England, in Bangladesh in 2010, Paul Allott added: "We don't see the ramp shots and little fiddly shots back down to fine leg and third man from him.
"His method is hitting straight down the ground and then pulling or cutting anything short away - and he he does it more effectively than any other domestic batsman at the moment."
Hampshire amassed a total of 202-3 from their 20 over with James Vince (60 from 30 balls) giving England hopeful Carberry ample support - but Lancashire launched a powerful response and came agonisingly close to victory, ending their innings on 201-4.
Stephen Moore (44 from 32), Karl Brown (49 from 28), Steven Croft (43 from 29) and Gareth Cross (32 from 17) all notched vital runs, and former Lightning seamer Allott says the Old Trafford outfit will find their narrow defeat "gutting".
When asked if he believed Lancashire had a realistic shot of winning after shipping over 200 runs, Allott said: "Honestly, no, as I thought they would lose a cluster of wickets at some point.
"But having looked at the pitch I thought that if they played sensibly - you didn't have to do stupid things to get runs - then [they may have a chance] - but to take it through to the last ball was memorable.
"I felt for the Lancashire lads because when you've conceded that many runs and then got so close, it is gutting."