Hampshire slumped to a fifth straight defeat in all formats as their Natwest T20 Blast campaign suffered a major setback.
The Ageas Bowl outfit went down to a 23-run home reverse to Glamorgan in their latest loss – the third on the bounce in the shortest form of the game – as their hopes of making a sixth straight finals day took a hefty blow.
Jacques Rudolph provided the steel to the Glamorgan innings with a sparkling 77 from just 45 balls as the Welsh club posted an imposing 181 for seven.
But Hampshire made inroads at the other end to keep the scoring in relative check.
Colin Ingram (13) was the first wicket to fall as James Vince safely pouched a steepler from Gareth Berg’s bowling before Ben Wright departed to a superb Jackson Bird catch.
The Australian dived full length to his left to take a brilliant one-handed effort at mid-off from Yasir Arafat’s bowling before he was engulfed by his jubilant team-mates.
Danny Briggs (two for 13) then came up with an important spell to put the brakes on the Welsh club’s innings, although Rudolph continued to keep the scoreboard ticking along with some tremendous strokes, including some remarkable switch-hits.
The only surprise was that Briggs only bowled three of his four allotted overs.
Chris Cooke (two) spooned to Jimmy Adams and then David Llloyd picked out Chris Wood with a fierce shot that flew straight to the fielder as the left-armer picked up two quick wickets.
Berg grabbed his second of the night as Adam Wheater removed Mark Wallace (21) with a smart catch.
The wicketkeeper then took an even better catch to finally end Rudolph’s brilliant knock as he raced back to get his gloves to a top-edge with great agility.
But Craig Meschede added some late impetus with a blistering 35 not out from 17 balls.
Hampshire’s batsmen, who have been struggling so badly for form of late, got off to a flying start in their reply.
James Vince (28) and Michael Carberry rattled along as they put on 69 for the first wicket inside eight overs.
But Vince holed out in the deep and Adams (five) was then pinned lbw to slow the rate down before Owais Shah (five) also went cheaply.
The hammer blow came when Carberry departed after a superb 46-ball 70, which included six fours and three sixes as he was caught on the boundary going for a fourth maximum in an explosive innings.
With Glamorgan opting for 14 overs of spin, Hampshire struggled to find boundaries when they needed them.
But perhaps it was a symptom of the batting frailties that the setback seemed to derail Hampshire’s hopes with the absent Sean Ervine leaving a huge hole in the batting ranks.
Will Smith (two) and Wheater (21) never managed to find any fluency.
And the game meandered towards an inevitable conclusion in the final few overs as Glamorgan ran out worthy winners.