Essex see Vitality Blast hopes ended by Hampshire
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Hampshire kept alive their flickering hopes of reaching the Vitality Blast quarter-finals with an 18-run win over Essex, whose own hopes are now over.
Essex looked on course to chase down the 172-run target after England batsman Dan Lawrence and Tom Westley put on 80 for the second wicket, only for Hampshire's bowlers to claw back control as the Eagles lost their last nine wickets for just 68 runs to be bowled out for 153.
Hampshire started well after winning the toss, with James Vince, fresh from his fine century for England against Pakistan, continuing from where he left off at Edgbaston with a superb 63 that included eight boundaries and a six.
Vince and D'Arcy Short put on 69 after eight overs, laying the foundations for a potentially huge target. But the Eagles fought back well when Aron Nijjar dismissed Short and Liam Dawson inside three balls to slow down the home side's progress.
Vince continued to score freely and put on 56 with Colin de Grandhomme before the Hampshire skipper mistimed a big shot over mid-off off spinner Simon Harmer and was caught in the deep by Jimmy Neesham.
De Grandhomme fell for 34 when the veteran Ryan ten Doeschate took a sharp catch off Sam Cook's bowling in the 16th over as the Hawks' hopes of passing the 180-mark took a huge dent.
The outstanding Harmer and Nijjar continued to slow down the scoring with wickets falling regularly as Joe Weatherley, Chris Wood and James Fuller all exited cheaply.
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Lewis McManus thumped two huge sixes in the final two overs to help his side to a decent total despite the Hawks losing two wickets in the final over to Cook..
Wood struck in the first over of the Essex innings, dismissing former Hampshire wicket-keeper Adam Wheater for a second-ball duck, before Lawrence and Westley steadied the ship.
But Westley, who reached 39 almost effortlessly, was then deceived by the flight of a Mason Crane ball and McManus whipped off his bails for a smart stumping.
Dawson and Short continued the good work by the spinners with the wickets of the dangerous Jimmy Neesham and Michael Pepper for single-figure scores.
Crane struck again when he dismissed ten Doeschate for nine after he holed out to James Fuller after 15 runs had been scored from the first five balls of the leg-spinner's over.
But Essex's hopes of victory dissipated when Lawrence departed for 60 after he gloved Scott Currie to McManus, who claimed his third victim.
With 31 needed from the last two overs, Essex fell well short with Brad Wheal taking two wickets in as many balls to dismiss Essex with four deliveries to spare.
Harmer said: "We put ourselves into a very strong position but couldn't see it through which is very disappointing. We only have ourselves to blame.
"I think it has been a disappointing competition for us from start to finish.
"There were glimmers of hope there for us but I think as a whole, we haven't been good enough. Our skills haven't been good enough."