Sam Northeast struck a superb fifty as Hampshire and Essex Eagles tied their Vitality Blast match-up at Chelmsford.
Northeast finished with an unbeaten 73 from 50 balls that included four sixes, whilst Colin Munro blasted 38 from just 17 deliveries as Hampshire posted 170 for five from their first innings.
In reply, Essex openers Adam Wheater and Varun Chopra had put on just four when Chopra fell to Ryan Stevenson’s first ball, a short delivery, and was caught behind.
Wheater then charged spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s first delivery and was stumped for a 14-ball 22, and Tom Westley had just beaten him back to the pavilion courtesy of an inside edge to a straight one from the excellent Chris Wood (3-27) for nine.
Ryan ten Doesechate and Lawrence steadied the ship with a fourth-wicket stand of 44 in five overs that included a big six over long-leg by the captain. But ten Doeschate perished when he top-edged Fidel Edwards to Liam Dawson on his knees at wide mid-on.
Lawrence showed his range of shots with a straight four off Dawson followed by a clip to third man next ball for another boundary. Bopara, moving beyond single figures for the first time this season, helped take the target to 60 from 30 balls.
Lawrence passed his previous highest score in the competition with an effortless pick-up over square leg for six off Edwards to take him to 48. But he attempted to reach his first half-century in style, but only hit Wood flattish to Munro on the long-off fence.
Suddenly the asking rate was 41 from three. Harmer helped it along with a reverse sweep six off Rahman and Bopara added a second in the over midwicket. But with 27 required from 12 balls, Harmer went lbw to Wood. Neil Wagner hit the left-armer straight for six followed by a four to make it 13 from the last over.
Bopara hit the first ball from Stevenson for a straight six and a single that followed gave Wagner the strike, but he went to the third ball when caught on the boundary by Dawson. Bopara refused a run from the fourth ball but thumped the fifth through the covers for four. Two needed from the last ball – and the dramatic conclusion.
Hampshire had started their innings slowly, but the loss of James Vince for one to a skier at mid-on only inspired Munro to take charge. Northeast finished off Jamie Porter’s second over with a six over midwicket, and then the New Zealander showed anything Northeast could do, he could do better.
Munro followed with sixes off the first two deliveries from Quinn in an over that went for 27 and included a third six over midwicket plus a free-hit that was expertly caught by ten Doeschate, albeit in vain.
Zampa was unfortunate that two successive misfields on the bumpy outfield went to the boundary, but hit back he bowled Munro playing a reverse sweep. Hampshire had reached 53 in the fifth over, but three wickets in 18 balls put the brakes on sharply.
Rilee Rossouw was Zampa’s second victim with a nick behind and Tom Alsop went for an ill-advised reverse sweep and was lbw to Harmer. Hampshire had slumped to 70 for four and added only 33 runs in eight middle overs. Indeed, such was their sluggish scoring that the fifth-wicket partnership between Northeast and Liam Dawson needed 50 balls to reach fifty.
However, Northeast saw off Zampa’s final two balls with sixes to cow corner that also brought up a personal 41-ball half-century. Wagner broke the 71-run stand when Dawson hit him high to wide mid-on where Lawrence – despite reacting slowly – took it on the move over his shoulder. Dawson’s 32 had been at a run a ball.
Words: Press Association