Middlesex bow out despite Denly blast
Hampshire 190 for 3 (Ervine 60*) beat Middlesex 182 for 7 (Denly 67, Wood 3-31) by 8 runs
Sean Ervine's first half-century of this season's competition enabled holders Hampshire to overcome Middlesex's plucky challenge at the Ageas Bowl by eight runs and set up a FLt20 home quarter-final against Lancashire next week.
Ervine hit an unbeaten 60 and shared in a stand of 101 in 9.5 overs for the fourth wicket with consistent veteran Neil McKenzie, who made 47 not out, as Hampshire accelerated over the second half of their innings to reach a formidable 190 for 3.
But Middlesex, who needed to win to stand any chance of qualifying for the latter stages, were undaunted and came desperately close to causing an upset by finishing with 182 for 7 thanks to Joe Denly's belligerent 67 and a rapid 29 from Eoin Morgan. Essex, beaten at Chelmsford but still able to qualify for the last eight if Middlesex lost, watched tv coverage of the last over as Middlesex failed to make the 16 runs they needed,
Hampshire's win was their eighth from 10 South Group matches. Their only defeat was by Kent and they had make do with a point from a washed-out match, against Essex at Chelmsford.
Hampshire soon lost the prolific Michael Carberry against Middlesex and then James Vince, both to Kyle Mills, after winning the toss and at the halfway stage they were only 89 for 3. But then Ervine and McKenzie came together and Middlesex quickly saw the initiative snatched away from them, Ervine hitting four sixes and four fours in a 34-ball innings.
When Middlesex responded Paul Stirling and Dawid Malan each contributed to a feisty start and the innings gained impetus when England's Morgan, playing only his second match in this year's competition, joined Denly in raising hopes of an unexpected outcome.
Morgan and Denly put on 58 in seven overs but Morgan's innings ended with an indecisive chip shot to Jimmy Adams at mid-on at 104 and for all Middlesex's later aggression, the target was always beyond them. Denly was last out at 181 from the penultimate ball, caught behind off Chris Wood but it was a brave knock by the middle order batsman in which he struck three sixes and three fours off 44 balls.
Middlesex's failure to win let in Essex in third spot despite their defeat by Surrey.