New Zealand opening batsman Jesse Ryder (107) smashed his maiden T20 century in just 51 balls as Hampshire were well-beaten by Essex in their NatWest T20 Blast South Division match at The Essex County Ground.
Despite Chris Wood (1-29) impressing with the ball, Ryder blew the visitors away alongside opening partner Mark Pettini (74) to reach an imposing 212-5 from their 20 overs.
Hampshire lost wickets at regular intervals in their reply to reach 134 all-out – as Essex sealed a comfortable victory by 78 runs.
Openers Pettini and Ryder looked in ominous form from the outset, regularly finding the boundary during the six powerplay overs.
The one-way traffic continued throughout the opening ten overs and Essex looked set to reach over 200 when they found themselves 105-0 at the half-way stage.
Hampshire did hit back with Will Smith (1-45) and Danny Briggs (1-36) picking up a wicket each during the middle overs, but it was Ryder at the other end who was doing the most damage.
James Vince’s side could only stand and admire as the New Zealander hit eight fours and eight sixes during his 55-ball stay at the crease.
If Hampshire were to chase 213 for a famous victory, a strong start was required.
However with all the momentum, it was Essex who started the second innings as they ended the first to pick up three wickets in the opening three overs to leave Hampshire 21-3 and with it all to do.
Experienced seamer Ravi Bopara (2-23) then impressed with the ball for Essex as Hampshire’s night went from bad to worse as the visitors quickly found themselves 66-7.
Wood (23) and Adam Wheater (24*) impressed with the bat in the lower order for Hants, but it was certainly an evening to forget for James Vince’s side with the home tie against Glamorgan next Friday an excellent opportunity to make amends.