Hampshire Stumble Against Essex Eagles Despite A Bailey Career-Best

George Bailey struck a sensational 89* but Hampshire stumbled to a four-wicket defeat against Essex Eagles

George Bailey hit his highest T20 score of his career, but Hampshire suffered a setback in their T20 Blast campaign, being edged out in a four-wicket defeat to Essex Eagles on Friday night.

Bailey (89*) hit eight fours and two maximums in his 62-ball stay at the crease as Hampshire posted 168-6 from their 20 overs.

Liam Dawson (3-41) then led the Hampshire attack with the ball, but Adam Wheater (50) recorded an important half-century to guide Essex to a final over victory.

Hampshire got off to a difficult start, with captain James Vince being trapped in front off the very first ball of the game.

Despite this, the hosts got off to a flying start, with Rilee Rossouw continuing his good form as Hampshire raced onto 25-1 off the opening two overs.

Tom Alsop (11) looked in good touch, but was then bowled by Paul Walter to leave the home side on 28-2, however Bailey rebuilt the innings, guiding Hampshire to 51-2 after the powerplay.

The pair then brought up their fifty partnership after less than seven overs together, with both batsman hitting four boundaries apiece, moving their side onto 78-2 after 9 overs.

Rossouw (36) then offered a simple return catch to Ashar Zaidi as the second wicket stand came to an end, but the hosts were still in a strong position at 82-3 at the halfway stage.

Bailey remained at the crease, and alongside Sean Ervine, the pair guided Hampshire into three figures with seven overs remaining.

Essex fought back with the wickets of Ervine (7) and Lewis McManus (0) to reduce the hosts to 107-5, but Bailey was still there, and he brought up his half-century off just 31 balls shortly after.

Bailey and Liam Dawson (18) then steered Hampshire into a strong position, with a quickfire stand worth 43 runs before the latter pulled it to Walter in the deep to leave Hampshire on 151-6.

Bailey then smashed 14 runs off the final over as Hampshire finished their innings on 168-6.

Essex got off a steady start in reply, with Adam Wheater and Varun Chopra guiding the visitors to 18-0 off the opening two overs.

The pair then continued their fast start to the run chase, bringing up their fifty partnership in the fifth over before Chopra (30) fell to Gareth Berg - the seamer making the important breakthrough.

Wheater then brought up his half-century off just 25 balls, but the opener’s innings came to an end when he was bowled by Dawson to reduce Essex to 92-2 after nine overs.

The spin of Dawson and Mason Crane then pulled it back for Hampshire, with just 11 runs coming from the proceeding two overs.

The pressure told when Lawrence (20) tried to play an inventive shot, but was superbly caught down the leg-side by McManus to give Chris Wood his first wicket.

McManus then held another catch just three balls later as Bopara (0) feathered behind to give Crane his first scalp as Essex stumbled from 92-1 to 109-4.

Zaidi and James Foster then came together and formed a quickfire partnership, hitting a quickfire 30 runs before Dawson pulled it back, dismissing Zaidi (21) and ten Doeschate (0) in two balls to reduce the visitors to 148-6.

Essex held their nerve however, with Foster (33*) steering Essex victory.