Dawson Effort Can't Prevent Essex Defeat

Liam Dawson took 3-24 after hitting 26 off 13 balls, as Essex won by 5 wickets in the NatWest T20 Blast

Hampshire all-rounder Liam Dawson continued to perform with impressive consistency as he hit 26 with the bat and took 3-24 with the ball against Essex Eagles, who secured a 5-wicket victory to leapfrog the visitors in the NatWest T20 Blast.

Promising batsman Joe Weatherley made an assured start to his T20 debut by hitting 18 runs off 17 balls, and Michael Carberry high-scored with 34 runs, as Hampshire posted 135-8 with the bat at Chelmsford.

Dawson helped restrict Essex to 45-3 to give the visitors hope of a second victory in the competition, but the Eagles clawed their way back on top and Ashar Zaidi (52) supplied an accomplished fifty to hand the home side victory with seven balls to spare.  

Michael Carberry (34) looked focused at the crease for Hampshire, moving along nicely with Tom Alsop (13) and taking the away side to 49 without loss after winning the toss and electing to bat.

The decision to set a total rather than chase looked to have paid off until Hants were dealt a double-blow either side of seven overs, as Carberry and Alsop were removed by Westley and Lawrence respectively to initiate Joe Weatherley's Twenty20 debut for the club.

19-year-old Weatherley didn't look out of his comfort zone at the crease, hitting 18 off 17 balls, including a beautfiul four, in a hugely positive debut that was ended by Essex bowler Graham Napier (3-31), who clean-bowled the youngster.

Dawson has impressed England selectors with his batting performances in particular this season, and the Hampshire all-rounder usefully accumulated 26 runs off 23 balls, finding the boundary twice, and looked like scoring many more before he was bowled by Essex skipper Ravi Bopara.

When Bopara took a second wicket in the 15th over, Shahid Afridi Afridi (1), Hampshire had lost five wickets before reaching 100, and required a potent conclusion to their batting innings with just five overs remaining.

West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy (11) is jetting off to the Caribbean on Saturday, and he'd have been frustrated not to make more of an impact against Essex, as he and wicket-keeper batsman Lewis McManus (4) were both bowled in an excellent 18th over by Napier.

Capable of furious big-hitting, all eyes were watching Gareth Andrew (13) and he managed one maximum to push Hants to 135-8 at Chelmsford. 

Chasing Hampshire's 136-run target, Essex batsman Jesse Ryder looked to give the home side the initiative, but Darren Sammy found a crucial breakthrough. The 32-year-old all-rounder removed dangerman Ryder to boost Hampshire's confidence of securing a first victory on the road in the 2016 NatWest T20 Blast.

Dawson piled pressure on the Essex batsmen in the 7th over by trapping a furious Bopara (0) at lbw, after taking Velani (17), and the home side were cut to 45-3.

Protecting a vulnerable total, Hampshire turned to Tino Best in the 11th over to try and remove more Essex men, as Zaidi moved the Eagles beyond the hundred mark without losing another wicket.

26-year-old Dawson reaffirmed himself as one of Hants' most consistent performers by taking his third wicket of the match, trapping Tom Westley (27) at lbw to reduce Essex to 104-4, requiring 32 runs from 40 balls for victory.

Zaidi reached his half-ton and took Essex to within 6 of victory, removed by a superb catch from Tino Best and a first wicket for Gareth Andrew, who went for just 9 off his two overs.

Hampshire have been leapfrogged in the NatWest T20 Blast South Division table by Essex, after Ryan ten Doeschate (14*) supplied the winning runs for the home side.