Invincible Hampshire march on with win over Essex

Hampshire's Dimi Mascarenhas grabbed three crucial wickets
Hampshire's Dimi Mascarenhas grabbed three crucial wickets
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Hampshire underlined their invincibility at the Rose Bowl once again as they secured a nine-run success over Essex.

The Rose Bowl outfit recorded their 10th straight t20 win on their home patch – their seventh of this season – as they saw off the Eagles in a rain-affected clash.

And the points effectively sealed Hampshire’s place in the last eight of this year’s competition.

The day had not started particularly well with Nic Pothas undergoing surgery to remove an appendix and Michael Lumb spraining an ankle in the regular warm-up game of football.

And with Jimmy Adams, Benny Howell and Neil McKenzie all back in the hutch inside six overs, things didn’t look promising.

But the innings was suddenly dragged up to speed by James Vince and Sean Ervine.

The duo then put on 85 in exactly 10 overs as Vince hit a classy 55 from 46 balls, while Ervine battered 45 from 35 balls to give the innings the injection it badly needed.

After Vince departed, Shahid Afridi attempted an audacious scoop and was caught by Mark Pettini after scoring just four.

But Dimi Mascarenhas again made a vital contribution with the ball, ripping out the Essex top order with three wickets inside three overs.

Owais Shah (38) and Ravi Bopara (48) rebuilt the Eagles innings as the showers arrived at 51 for three.

Shah was sent on his way soon after the restart when his skier was well taken by Afridi before more rain arrived with the Royals ahead on Duckworth-Lewis.

And another delay saw the target reduced to 132 from 17 overs – seemingly way out of reach when Imran Tahir cleaned up Ryan ten Doeschate.

With Essex needing 31 off the final two overs, the Royals looked well in command when Afridi and deputy wicketkeeper Michael Bates combined for a razor-sharp stumping to remove Bopara.

That left Essex needing 22 off the final over, plenty of breathing space for Cork to seal another victory.