Middlesex 110 for 4 (Gubbins 22, Bopara 3-12) beat Essex 109 all out (Foster 33, Finn 4-28) by six wickets
Middlesex beat Essex by six wickets with three overs to spare in the NatWest Twenty20 Blast match at Richmond on Friday night to put a dent in the Eagles' hopes of reaching the knockout stages.
International bowlers Steven Finn and James Franklin wreaked havoc as they returned figures of 4 for 28 and 3 for 13 respectively as the visitors were dismissed for 109 in 18 overs.
Nick Gubbins and Dawid Malan launched the chase for victory, after the visitors had won the toss, with an opening stand of 47, before Ravi Bopara gave Essex a sliver of hope by removing both batsmen in the same over.
Graham Napier then accounted for John Simpson for 14 to leave the home side 62 for 3. Debutant George Scott and Eoin Morgan fashioned a fourth wicket stand of 36 in five overs, before Scott became Bopara's third victim.
Only 12 more runs were needed and Morgan and Franklin completed the task with the minimum of fuss, with Morgan finishing 21 not out. Bopara picked up his three wickets at a cost of 12 runs from his four overs.
England man Finn bowled his four overs within the opening eight of the Essex innings and when he finally took his sweater, the Eagles were already in trouble are 42 for 5.
He removed Mark Pettini in his first over, and then Tom Westley and Essex skipper Ryan ten Doeschate in his third, before signing-off with the scalp of Ravi Bopara with the final delivery of his spell.
Only a 51-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Liam Dawson, on-loan from Hampshire, and James Foster in 6.2 overs added any substance to the visitors' sorry score.
Dawid Malan broke that stand when he had Dawson caught for 22 by Nick Gubbins at deep mid-on with the total on 93. Seven runs later, spinner Ollie Rayner breached the defences of Foster who top-scored with 33.
Franklin then returned to grab two wickets. The New Zealand allrounder had already made a significant impact for the home side when he had fellow Kiwi Jesse Ryder caught off a glove by John Simpson.
He later added Graham Napier and Shaun Tait - who had his middle stump uprooted - to bring to a close an abject batting display and the Eagles' lowest T20 score of the season.
Middlesex's win ended a dismal sequence of seven defeats in succession in the competition after they had started the campaign promisingly with two victories in their opening three games.