Hampshire secured an incredible one-run victory over Sussex Sharks with the final ball of their NatWest T20 Blast encounter, as 19-year-old bowler Brad Wheal (2-17) delivered an impeccable last over at the 1st Central County Ground.
Having set the Sharks a 135-run target, Wheal and Gavin Griffiths (3-33) restricted the home side from matching their score as Hants sealed their third victory in the competition, moving to within two points of Sussex with a game in hand.
Hampshire won the toss and elected to put Tom Alsop and Adam Wheater in to bat first, making a positive start at Hove, but the visitors would struggle to score proficiently against an international bowling attack.
Wheater used the pace of Tymal Mills, bowling down the hill, with a confident approach and whipped three away to the boundary in an expensive second over, which left Hampshire on 21-0.
An extravagant drive down the ground was mistimed by Wheater though, and Chris Jordan made no mistake in the field to reduce Hants to 22-1, as West-Indian bowler Jofra Archer claimed his first wicket.
Hampshire were 41-1 at the end of the powerplay, and Alsop took Hampshire beyond 50 runs with a maximum, finding his range with a relatively short leg side boundary.
Hants suffered two setbacks in the ninth over as Ervine was caught attempting to smash the ball over long-on, and then Alsop was run out after miscommunication with new partner Liam Dawson.
Shahid Afridi (11) opened his account with a booming six –making a statement of intent – but he was run out in the 11th over and Weatherley was bowled in the 12th as Hampshire were pegged back to 87-5.
Dawson took Hants past 100 midway through the 15th over by smashing the ball over the scoreboard and out of the ground, but the visitors’ tally was restricted when the all-rounder was caught acrobatically by Jordan at cow corner.
Gavin Griffiths and Tino Best helped the visitors post 134-9, requiring an excellent display with the ball to prevent Sussex from achievable their 135-run total.
Brad Wheal bowled dangerman Luke Wright (9) in the fourth over, after Sussex had begun their pursuit of Hampshire’s vulnerable 135-run target at a furious rate, climbing to 33-0 after three overs.
Griffiths well and truly halted Sussex’s quick progress with the bat, as Salt’s (2) lofted attempt at a maximum fell to Dawson, who gathered with safe hands to restrict the home side to 39-2 in the fifth over.
Hampshire’s international players, Liam Dawson and Shahid Afridi, combined to removed the key wicket of Nash (32)and Sussex were well behind Hants at 63-3 after 9.4 overs.
Ross Taylor (28) and Matt Machan (22) hit a flurry of maximums to take the home side to 109-3 after 15 overs, scoring 33 runs in two overs as they moved to 26 runs of victory with five overs remaining.
Wheal bowled a superb 16th over to remove Machan, who was seriously threatening Hampshire’s total, and going for just one run, leaving Sussex requiring 25 off 24 balls.
Griffiths gave Hampshire real hope of victory by bowling Jordan in the 17th over, but Sussex only required 5 runs off the final over, leaving a nigh-on impossible task for Wheal, facing Taylor (46).
Wheal went for just three runs in the most tense of final overs, as Hampshire ran out Beer (1) and Archer (0) and sealed a memorable one-run victory with the final ball.