Hampshire’s miserable T20 campaign continued as they slipped to a three-run defeat at the hands of Essex at the Ageas Bowl.
The home side missed out in a thrilling encounter in which they needed eight runs off the final over to pick up only a second T20 win of the summer.
Excellent bowling from Liam Dawson and Shahid Afridi restricted Essex to 146 for four.
With James Vince (62) in supreme form before returning to the England squad against Pakistan, Hampshire looked like picking up a rare win.
In the end, however, they just failed to get over the line in a nail-biting finish.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat, Essex wasted little time in setting about the Hampshire bowling.
Tino Best was despatched to the boundary twice as the visitors took 11 runs from the opening over.
The first breakthrough for the home side arrived in the third over, with Gareth Andrew doing the damage.
He tempted Kishen Velani into a drive which went straight to James Vince at mid off.
Essex returned to the ascendancy in the next three overs, however, with Jesse Ryder and Tom Westley returning to the offensive.
Westley hammered Brad Wheal for three successive fours in one over and by the end of the power play Essex were sitting pretty at 67 for one.
The visitors, however, failed to build on that excellent start as a result of some excellent bowling by the Hampshire spinners.
Dawson (two for 19),fresh from his England T20 debut, and Afridi (one for 14) bowled magnificently.
As a result, Essex failed to find the boundary for the next six overs.
Suddenly the visitors were reined in, losing the wickets of Ryder and Westley so that by the 12th over they were 101 for three.
Nineteen-year-old Brad Taylor also bowled a decent spell and Essex had to settle for posting a target of 146 for four.
The home side made an excellent start to their reply with Michael Carberry and Vince quickly putting 42 runs on the board.
Carberry fell in the fifth over to a terrific running catch on the deep mid-wicket boundary by Paul Walter.
Two balls later, Tom Alsop went without scoring – sending a simple catch back to the bowler.
There was further trouble for the home side when Dawson was caught soon afterwards in the covers, leaving Hampshire at 68 for three off eight overs.
Vince though was in supreme form racing to 50 off 37 balls.
Hampshire continued to make life difficult for themselves with the loss of Sean Ervine and Afridi in quick succession.
A tense finish was set up when Graham Napier clean bowled Vince (62) with Hampshire needing 31 runs from 21 balls.
In the end the home side needed eight off the final over and four off the final two balls but came up short to lose by three runs.