Hampshire can defend title - Shahid Afridi

Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi has taken 16 wickets in nine matches during this year's FL t20

Hampshire all-rounder Shahid Afridi believes that his side can rise to the challenge of defending their Twenty20 crown at Edgbaston on Saturday.

Hampshire face Somerset in their semi-final, the side they narrowly beat in last season's final at The Rose Bowl.

"We've got a bunch of guys who are full of talent and a good combination of players for Twenty20 cricket," Afridi told BBC Radio Solent.

"I'm positive we will definitely perform in the next two games as well."

When the two sides met in the group stages, after a total wash-out at Taunton, Hampshire again came out on top at The Rose Bowl, winning by seven wickets.

However, Afridi believes that Saturday's meeting with the 2005 Twenty20 winners will be entirely different due to the stage it is being played on.

"These type of big games like semi-finals and finals are all about pressure. You should know as a professional cricketer how to handle this pressure.

"The main thing is we just focus. I'm very focused and I'm ready for this game."

One of Somerset's key men is likely to be Marcus Trescothick, who is renowned for batting well against spin, which could lessen Afridi's impact.

"I've played a lot of cricket against him and really I enjoy watching him playing," added Afridi. "But, I think the semi-final will depend on our focus on the day."

Hampshire squad: Cork capt, Afridi, Bates, Adams, Mascarenhas, Ervine, Briggs, Dawson, Wood, Pothas, McKenzie, Jones, Howell, Tahir.

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