Essex 170 for 8 (Lawrence 49, Wood 3-27) tied with Hampshire 170 for 5 (Northeast 73*)
Ravi Bopara was run out from the last ball and the Vitality Blast match at Chelmsford ended in a tie. Needing two runs to win, Bopara failed to beat Colin Munro's throw from square leg, though umpire Jeffrey Evans had to go to the TV umpire to confirm the decision.
Bopara had hit 39 from 26 balls to take Essex within a whisker of only their second T20 victory of the season. Dan Lawrence had laid the foundation for the chase of 171 with the highest T20 score of his career. His 49 came off 36 balls with four fours and a six. Chris Wood kept Essex in check until the late fireworks with 3 for 27 from his four overs, but it was not quite enough for victory.
Sam Northeast finished with an unbeaten 73 from 50 balls that included four sixes as Hampshire posted 170 for 5. It was a comparatively pedestrian innings compared to the 38 from 17 balls, three of them sixes, by New Zealand opener Colin Munro that looked as if it would set the tempo for a huge Hampshire total after opting to bat.
Bar two overs from Matt Quinn that went for 27 and 19, Essex kept a tight rein. Adam Zampa's 2 for 30 was only spoilt by some late hitting by Northeast. Fellow spinner Simon Harmer took 1 for 21 from his four overs, and Ravi Bopara conceded 19 from his three.
Essex openers Adam Wheater and Varun Chopra had put on just 4 when Chopra fell to Ryan Stevenson's first ball, a short delivery, and was caught behind.
Wheater bookended Fidel Edwards's opening over with sixes over midwicket before he was the second of two wickets in four balls when he charged spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman's first delivery and was stumped. Tom Westley had just beaten him back to the pavilion after dragging on against Wood for 9.
Ryan ten Doesechate and Lawrence steadied the ship with a fourth-wicket stand of 44 in five overs that included a big six over long-leg by the captain. But ten Doeschate perished when he top-edged a pull off Edwards to the edge of the ring.
Lawrence showed his range of shots with a straight four off Dawson followed by a clip to third man next ball for another boundary. Bopara, moving beyond single figures for the first time this season, helped take the target to 60 from 30 balls.
Lawrence passed his previous highest score in the competition with an effortless pick-up over square leg for six off Edwards to take him to 48. But he attempted to reach his first half-century in style, and only hit Wood flat to Munro on the long-off fence.
Suddenly the asking rate was 41 from three. Harmer helped it along with a reverse-swept six off Rahman and Bopara added a second in the over midwicket. With 27 required from 12 balls, Harmer went lbw to Wood but Neil Wagner hit a straight for six followed by a four to make it 13 from the last over.
Bopara hit the first ball from Stevenson for a straight six with James Vince falling awkwardly after colliding with Rilee Rossouw in an attempt to make the catch. A single gave Wagner the batting, but he went to the third ball when caught on the boundary by Dawson. Bopara refused a run from the next but thumped the fifth through the covers for four. Two needed from the last ball - and the dramatic conclusion.
Hampshire had started their innings slowly, but the loss of Vince for 1 to a skier at mid-on only inspired Munro to take charge. Northeast finished off Jamie Porter's second over with a six over midwicket, and then the New Zealander showed anything Northeast could do, he could do better.
Munro followed with sixes off the first two deliveries from Quinn in an over that included a third six over midwicket plus a free-hit that was expertly caught by ten Doeschate, albeit in vain.
Zampa was unfortunate that two successive misfields on the bumpy outfield went to the boundary, but hit back when he bowled Munro playing a reverse sweep. Rossouw was Zampa's second victim with a nick behind and Tom Alsop went for an ill-advised reverse sweep and was lbw to Harmer.
Hampshire had slumped to 70 for 4 and added only 33 runs in eight middle overs. Indeed, such was their sluggish scoring that the fifth-wicket partnership between Northeast and Liam Dawson needed 50 balls to reach fifty.
However, Northeast saw off Zampa's final two balls with sixes to cow corner that also brought up a 41-ball half-century. Wagner broke the 71-run stand when Dawson hit him high to wide mid-on where Lawrence took it on the move over his shoulder. Dawson's 32 had been at a run a ball.