Ryder hundred brings Hampshire to their knees
Essex 212 for 5 (Ryder 107*) beat Hampshire 134 (Topley 3-25, Bopara 3-23) by 78 runs
Jesse Ryder's first century in the competition paved the way a 78-run victory for Essex over Hampshire in their NatWest Twenty20 Blast at Chelmsford.
The New Zealander destroyed the visiting attack with an unbeaten 107 from just 55 deliveries, eight of which he smashed for six. The last of those carried him into three figures and he also scored eight fours in an exhibition that earned him a standing ovation as Essex finished on 212 for 5.
Sharing the limelight with Ryder was Mark Pettini as they put together an opening partnership of 126 in 14 overs. Pettini's share of that was 74 in 45 balls as he helped himself to three sixes among his dozen boundaries before he was brilliantly caught at deep mid-wicket by a diving Gareth Berg to give spinner Will Smith his only wicket.
No other batsman managed to reach double figures but that was of little consolation for Hampshire as Essex collected their sixth success in the competition to move level with Kent at the top of the South Group table.
The only visiting bowler to escape the carnage was Chris Wood, his four overs costing 29 runs and earning him the wicket of James Foster.
Hampshire began their reply needing to get off to a flying start to mount any sort of challenge but it was not to be.
In the first three overs, they lost as many wickets, Reece Topley bowling James Vince and then having Michael Carberry caught on the square leg boundary for eight. In between, David Masters sent back Joe Gatting as Ryan ten Doeschate accepted a catch at deep mid-off.
One-time Essex batsman Owais Shah did his best to repair the damage but having struck three fours and a six in making 26 from 20 balls, he was magnificently caught by ten Doeschate at wide mid-on after he dived to his right to pluck the ball an inch or so off the ground.
After that, and with the score now 57 for 4, Hampshire were left with the task of trying to bring some sense of respectability to their challenge.
When medium-pace man Ravi Bopara came into the attack he soon put Hampshire into even deeper trouble with three wickets in an over, those of Jimmy Adams, Smith and Berg to leave the scoreboard looking a sorry 66 for 7.
Bopara, who was appearing in his 100th domestic T20 match finished with 3 for 23 while Topley claimed 3 for 25 as Essex ended a sequence of six successive defeats against Hampshire, dismissed for only 134, in this competition