Hampshire 183 for 5 (Carberry 54, Topley 3-30) beat Essex 182 for 5 (Shah 68) by five wickets
Hampshire, the FLt20 holders, are through to the quarter-finals. Surprisingly beaten at the Ageas Bowl by Kent last weekend, they managed to defeat a stronger side, Essex, after choosing to bat in the floodlit twilight. Michael Carberry, overlooked by England for the time being, struck 54 off 41 balls.
Essex again undermined their efforts by bowling their overs too slowly, suffering a six-run penalty just as Hampshire's chase reached its critical stage. Although Sean Ervine was bowled by Reece Topley and Adam Wheater went next ball against his old county, caught behind attempting to strike the winning runs, only two were required off the last over. These were duly achieved with four balls remaining.
Carberry does not need to resort to slogging. He can drive through and over mid-off, cut backward of point and collect runs off his legs as effectively as any opener in the limited-overs game. As he did here. Two sixes off Graham Napier during an opening stand of 60 with James Vince were followed by squirting the same bowler for four backward of point.
Jimmy Adams, conceivably batting too high up the order in this form of the game, was held at long-on off Topley but Carberry promptly drove the same bowler for four past deep mid-off, the shot of the night, and then hit David Masters to the midwicket boundary to reach his half-century before James Foster sensibly brought Shaun Tait back. The upshot was a catch at the wicket.
Neil McKenzie, by now at the other end, is too much of an old pro when it comes to keeping the asking rate within bounds - helped, it must be said, by a succession of wides bowled by Tait and Topley, who struggled with his line against left-handers. Ervine, who pulled the Australian fast bowler for four and Napier for six, provided the necessary impetus.
Hampshire would just about have settled for restricting Essex to 182 for 5, given that Owais Shah was imperious in making 68 from 49 balls. It seemed not to matter to him that he batted on one leg and with a runner for the bulk of his innings, having been winded before he had found his stride. Dimitri Mascarenhas is retiring at the end of the season, and was granted a warm reception when he came on to bowl, yet was not treated kindly.
Shah struck him for two sixes in one over, then a third flicked over square leg to reach his half century, off 34 balls and with five fours besides. A fourth followed off Danny Briggs before he drove Mascarenhas too uppishly to midwicket. There had been no obvious reason for Hampshire to put Essex in, but no one else in the upper order batted with any conviction.
Carberry brought off a stunning one-handed catch on the cover boundary to account for Hamish Rutherford and Ravi Bopara was bowled aiming to sweep Liam Dawson. Only a couple of sixes belted by Ryan ten Doeschate off David Griffiths enabled Essex to reach a competitive total. It proved to be not sufficient.