Rilee Rossouw scored a crucial half-century as Hampshire got back to winning ways with an six-wicket victory over Middlesex in the NatWest T20 Blast on Thursday evening.
Kyle Abbott (3-26) shone with the ball in an all-round team performance by the visitors, as Middlesex were bowled out for 136 in the 20th over of the innings.
In reply, Rossouw (60) led from the front with an important innings, keeping his composure when wickets fell around him as Hampshire picked up 2 points in the capital.
Hampshire made a tight start to proceedings, restricting the hosts to 12-0 off the opening two overs. The visitors’ efforts were rewarded by Nick Gubbins (4) chipped it straight to James Vince to give Chris Wood his first wicket.
Steve Eskinazi and John Simpson (16) rebuilt the innings, with a second wicket partnership of 41 runs in just over three overs before the latter fell to debutant Ian Holland (1-33).
Mason Crane then claimed the wicket of Eskinazi (43) shortly after as Middlesex were restricted to 83-3 at the halfway point of their innings.
Eoin Morgan (20) took the attack to the Hampshire bowlers with an array of fantastic shots, but when he played on off the bowling of Wood, Middlesex were reduced to 95-4.
The hosts looked to rebuild, but kept losing wickets at regular intervals despite the best efforts of Adam Voges (14), with Middlesex collapsing from 108-4 to 120-7 in the space of a few overs.
Nathan Sowter (9) and Harry Podmore (6) edged their side closer to a more respectable score, but three wickets in four balls from Abbott (3-26) and Gareth Berg (2-20) did the damage, as Middlesex were bowled out for 136 in the 20th over.
The visitors got off to a bright start in reply, with Vince smashing a maximum in the very first over, taking advantage of a free hit off the bowling of former Hampshire seamer Tom Barber.
Barber then hit Rossouw on the helmet, but the Hampshire batsmen negotiated the early conditions, guiding their side to 25-0 after the opening three overs.
The pair then struck a maximum apiece in a productive fourth over, which went for 16 runs as Hampshire moved the target into double figures, and the rate to a run a ball.
Vince (20) was then bowled by a disguised slower ball from Tom Helm, with the ball flicking the top of the bail to leave Hampshire on 42-1.
Despite the loss of Vince, Tom Alsop (10) then carried on the momentum for the hosts with two boundaries in his first three balls as the visitors took advantage of the opening powerplay, moving onto 56-1.
That was to be the last contribution from the top-order batsman, who was run-out after a smart pickup in the field from Higgins saw Alsop fall a few yards short of his crease.
Rossouw was still there, and continued to shape the innings, but Bailey (3) became the second batsman to be run-out as Hampshire were reduced to 75-3 at the halfway stage of the innings.
The left-hander then moved past fifty as his side moved onto 100-3 after 12 overs, with the run rate moving below five runs an over for the first time in the game.
A strong over followed, with 11 runs coming off Tom Barber’s six balls as Hampshire progressed onto 111-3, edging ever closer towards the victory target in very sensible fashion.
Rossouw then hit another two boundaries in the very next over, and was well supported by Sean Ervine, but just as it looked like he would carry his bat, he top-edged Barber to Harry Podmore at fine-leg.
Despite the loss of Rossouw, Sean Ervine (23*) and Lewis McManus (6*) guided Hampshire to victory with more than two overs to spare to seal a convincing victory.