Liam Dawson’s joint-best T20 knock of 46 runs was not enough to secure victory at Taunton, as a fifty from Chris Gayle (52) sealed a 6-wicket win for Somerset in the NatWest T20 Blast.
Dawson hit back at the bowling of Jamie Overton (4-22) and Max Waller (4-33) by hitting 46 runs off 34 balls to help Hants post 133 all out, as Tom Alsop made his T20 debut and Shahid Afridi smashed 21 off 9 deliveries.
Gayle and Mahela Jayawardene (45) proved their worth though, chasing Hampshire's 134-run target with four overs to spare in a rain-affected encounter, as Lewis Gregory (4) hitting the winning boundary for Somerset.
Debutant Alsop made a positive start by hitting four runs off his second ball but was run out in the second over and, when Michael Carberry was caught after hitting 17 off 12 balls, Hampshire were immediately on the back foot.
The visitors had been boosted by the availability of James Vince (10), but the skipper was unable to make a telling impact as he was removed at the end of a challenging power play, Hampshire 3-32.
Somerset spinner Max Waller (4-33) bowled excellently for the home side, and he removed Wheater (10) and Smith (0) with successive deliveries to deal Hampshire a further set back, leaving Dawson and Afridi to enhance a low total.
Dawson supplied a crucial innings and his joint-best T20 knock of 46 helped Hampshire hit back at Somerset, who had been placed in the driving seat by an smart spell from Waller. Afridi batted with flair, hitting 21 off 9 balls, and Hampshire were 124-6.
After Hants’ progress was halted by rain - shortly after Afridi and Dawson had been dismissed within three balls of each other - Darren Sammy and Gareth Berg were unable to supply substantial additions, as Overton set up a Somerset win.
Hampshire surprised many at Taunton by making early progress in the field, as Berg removed the key wicket of Somerset skipper Allenby (4) - caught by Afridi - and Darren Sammy took Peter Trego (8). Sammy's reaction displayed surprise, elation and hope of victory at 28-2.
The international nature of Twenty20 cricket was captured in the seventh over, as Afridi bowled at Chris Gayle and Mahela Jayawardene, and unfortunately for Hampshire the pair showed world-class ability with the bat.
Gayle moved Somerset to 95-2 with a speedy half-ton before being removed by Will Smith, and left the field to great applause on his last appearance of the season. There was a feeling from the offset that Gayle's wicket needed to be removed early in order to hand Hampshire a chance of triumph of Taunton.
Mahela Jayawardene then took the home side beyond 100 with back-to-back boundaries and onto victory, as Lewis Gregory hit the winning boundary for Somerset in the 16th over.
Berg took 2-13 with the ball on an unrewarding trip to Taunton, which was effectively decided by the class of two word-class batsman and excellent bowling from Overton and Waller.
Hampshire will continue their hunt for a second victory in this year's NatWest T20 Blast when they take on Essex Eagles at Chelmsford on Friday.