Brad Wheal (3-43) continued to show promise with the ball and Sean Ervine hit 36 runs with the bat, but Middlesex secured a 43-run victory over Hampshire, looking for a third consecutive victory in the NatWest T20 Blast at the Ageas Bowl on Friday.
19-year-old Wheal impressed once again, picking up three wickets, but a 114-run partnership between George Bailey (76) and John Simpson (54) for Middlesex put the visitors in the ascendency.
Middlesex won the toss and elected to bat, but things were fairly even at the start of their innings, before Ryan McLaren removed the in-form captain Dawid Malan (11), and Hampshire began to take the initiative.
Gavin Griffiths removed England skipper Eoin Morgann for just two runs, caught at mid on by Liam Dawson, and Hants were firmly on top when Paul Sterling was yorked by Brad Wheal to leave Middlesex 40-3 at the end of the powerplay.
Former Hampshire and Australian international Bailey kept his calm though, and hauled Middlesex back into it. He and John Simpson (54) provided a foundation, after struggling to find the boundary early on, and halfway through the innings they began to accelerate.
The boundary count began to rise with Bailey hitting ten fours, and Simpson providing seven boundaries, including three sixes. The scoreboard continued to tick along with these two at the crease, but Wheal managed to remove Simpson caught in the deep, and at 154-4 after 18 overs things were nicely poised.
Ryan McLaren made it two wickets in quick succession for Hants, dismissing the new batsman Franklin (1) with a crucial eleven balls to go, but Bailey made sure Middlesex put on a respectable total, with 25 coming of those last two overs.
The Australian finally holed out to Liam Dawson off the bowling of Wheal with the last ball of the innings, and Middlesex finished on 181-6.
After a slow start to Hampshire’s innings, Sean Ervine (36) and Liam Dawson (16) launched a fight back with some lovely fours coming down the ground and backward of point.
But after four boundaries in two overs, including a massive six from over long on, Dawson fell to Higgins, bringing the 44-run partnership to an end.
That dismissal brought Shahid Afridi to the crease, but after one cutting four off Finn, the next ball to the England paceman had his man, with the Pakistani skying the ball to Fuller in the deep.
Set batsman Ervine was then deceived by a slower ball from Fuller, and at 76-4 after 11.2 overs, things needed to change for Hants and were facing a quandary.
Weatherley and McLaren managed to give Hampshire a slight sniff of victory, with the South African pulling a thumping six of Roland-Jones.
But once again, just as the partnership looked to have put the pressure back on the bowlers, wickets fell.
Weatherley and McLaren were dismissed in consecutive deliveries from Higgins and that really spelled the end for Hampshire.
Brad Wheal managed to hit a few late boundaries to make the scorecard look more respectable, but he was clean bowled by Higgins in the final over to hand Middlesex a victory of 43 runs, and deny Hampshire of a third consecutive victory in the tournament.