Dimi Mascarenhas’ brave last-ditch effort was not quite enough to drag Hampshire to a fourth straight win in the CB40 competition after they went down in a thrilling clash with Nottinghamshire.
The Royals came up just 12 runs short in a cracking game, with Mascarenhas battering a quickfire 48 in the latter stages.
But it wasn’t to be enough after James Taylor hammered a superb 115 not out in Nottinghamshire’s imposing 277 for four.
While Hampshire set about their task with gusto and were well on course to overhaul their target at various stages, they weren’t quite able to see it through as Taylor stole the show.
On the day Kevin Pietersen announced his decision to retire from international one-day cricket, Taylor underlined his credentials to succeed the former Hampshire man with a brutal assault.
Seen by many as the next man in line for England’s Test side, Taylor proved he is more than capable of playing limited overs cricket as well with a superb display of power-hitting without ever really appearing to swing the bat that hard.
In a fabulous century, he struck seven fours and seven sixes to take the game away from the Royals as he smashed the ball to all parts of the Ageas Bowl.
After former Hampshire man Michael Lumb departed for a five-ball duck, trapped by Kabir Ali, the Nottinghamshire batsmen soon got on top with Samit Patel (66) playing a vital part.
While Liam Dawson (two for 32) excelled with the ball again, the rest of the Hampshire attack had some sorry-looking figures.
That was especially true of Sean Ervine (nought for 34 from just two overs) who was the subject of Taylor’s extraordinary late blitz as the Outlaws posted a mighty target.
In fairness, the Royals made a great fist of their run-chase and were well ahead of the rate for much of their innings.
Michael Carberry (54) and Jimmy Adams (51) blasted away at the top of the order knowing that a fast start was required to give their side any hope.
But once Adams became the first victim for Patel (three for 47) – caught by Taylor off a leading edge – and Carberry followed, things looked bleak.
Ervine (68) made up for his miserable spell with the ball with a cracking knock.
But the pressure eventually told on him as the run-rate continued to escalate towards the business end of the contest.
Mascarenhas then came up with a valiant effort to drag his side towards the target, getting it to just 15 required off the final over.
But Darren Pattinson bowled a tight final over as the Hampshire all-rounder eventually fell off the penultimate delivery.