Hampshire so nearly performed a miraculous late escape as they went down by just one run in a pulsating Natwest T20 Blast clash at Somerset.
Will Smith (25 not out) and Adam Wheater (22 not out) came up agonisingly short of dragging James Vince’s side to a victory they barely merited, with the game looking dead and buried with three overs to go.
Smith hammered three sixes in nine balls to give his side a chance and needing three runs to win from the final ball of the innings – chasing Somerset’s total of 176 for four.
But Wheater was unable to put bat to ball and a leg bye left his side just short.
With Somerset put into bat first by James Vince, Danny Briggs was missing from the Hampshire attack – his wife is set to give birth – and his absence was keenly felt.
Without their premier t20 bowler, it meant Vince and Sean Ervine bowled five overs between them at a cost of 59 runs.
And Ervine, in particular, was on the receiving end of some serious stick from Peter Trego (76) and Craig Kieswetter (57) as his three wicketless overs went for 40 runs.
Chris Wood made the early breakthrough, bowling Chris Jones (10).
Kieswetter and Trego then shared a partnership worth 115 runs as Somerset reached 134 for one in the 15th over.
But the former England man’s ill-judged ramp shot cost him his wicket as Kyle Abbott took a diving catch, before Abbott removed Trego with a yorker in the 18th over.
Wheater then produced a sharp stumping to dismiss Alviro Petersen (eight) as Wood (two for 33) picked up his second wicket.
But there was some unusually ragged fielding from Hampshire and, coupled with the loss of Briggs, it meant their total of 176 for four was probably 20 runs more than it should have been.
Their reply got off to a dreadful start as Vince (nought) edged his first ball to slip from Trego’s bowling, before Jimmy Adams (nine) picked out the fielder at deep mid-wicket.
Michael Carberry was in destructive mood, clattering one enormous six into the adjacent block of flats, plundering 17 runs from Alfonso Thomas.
But when Carberry (38) was caught on the boundary going for another maximum, Glenn Maxwell took on the mantle.
The Australian looked in good form, reaching 21 from 13 balls, before he got caught up in the moment and was out playing a reverse-sweep that lobbed up to Kieswetter.
While Maxwell is a box-office player, there is always that frustration that he doesn’t pick his moments and read the situation of a game to rein himself in on occasions.
Owais Shah (22) played a brisk knock but 38 runs were still needed from the last three overs, before Ervine (27) holed out.
Matt Coles played a ludicrous attempted flick over the keeper’s head to the first ball he faced that saw him walk straight back off again.
It looked like Wheater and Smith had too much to do – although both were dropped in successive balls as Somerset did their best to mess it up. But the hosts just about saw it home to claim the points.