T20: Essex Eagles earn thrilling tie at Hampshire
- Credit: Nick Wood/TGS Photo
Hampshire and Essex Eagles tied for a second year in a row as Adam Zampa ran half-century maker Sam Northeast out from the last ball of a thrilling match.
Hampshire, chasing 140 to win, needed 11 off the final over, having previously required 42 from three overs, before pulling it down to two runs from the last ball.
With Northeast, who was on 72, on strike the batsman struck down the ground but could only find Zampa - who easily had Northeast out his ground attempting a second.
Northeast had turned the match around with 73 from 56 balls, with the match seemingly Essex's to win before the nervy finale.
The shared points helps neither side in their hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals - as they both sit on 11 points, two points adrift of Somerset and Middlesex.
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Having won the toss and chosen the bowl Hampshire struck early.
Chris Wood continued his incredible first over wicket-taking record when he had Tom Westley lbw to the first delivery of the match - it was the fifth time in this season's Blast the left armer had stuck in his first over.
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Kyle Abbott copied Wood in the next over as Essex were left three for two when Cameron Delport was brilliantly caught behind by Lewis McManus.
Dan Lawrence and Adam Wheater then ambled along at around six an over in an 83-run stand for the third wicket to revive the innings - before Wheater was caught on the square boundary.
Lawrence continued, though, with a series of delightful shots through and over the covers, to go with a towering six over mid-wicket.
He passed 1,000 T20 runs and a 13th fifty of the season across all formats, off 37 balls.
But as with his first 12 half centuries, Lawrence couldn't convert to three figures as he picked out Ian Holland at backward point while attempting a reverse scoop.
Ryan ten Doeschate fell plumb lbw to Chris Morris and Abbott yorked Ravi Bopara and Simon Harmer in the same over to take figures of 3-15, leaving the Eagles on 139-7.
Like Essex earlier, Hampshire lost both openers early on as James Vince and Rilee Rossouw both picked out Ravi Bopara on the point rope.
Sam Northeast and Liam Dawson attempted to rebuild for the hosts but despite running hard between the wickets they struggled to hit boundaries in their 68-run alliance.
With seven overs to go, and only four fours between them, the required rate was up and 10 an over - with Dawson departing for 31 off 34 balls during that 14th over after slogging a sweep straight to cow corner.
But thanks to some clever striking from Northeast, whose half century came in 46 balls with five fours, Hampshire ground themselves back into contention.
Morris and James Fuller, 17 off 12, both departed but Northeast and Lewis McManus collected 11 off the 18th over, 19 from the 19th over and managed to slice past the 11 needed off the final Mohammad Amir over before the last ball hijinx.
Turning point: The game swayed from side to side do often there wasn't a defined moment the match changed. If anything the last ball being punted straight to Zampa was the first time anything looked clear!
Shot of the match: Dan Lawrence showed off his range of cover drives but it was his leg side six which lightened the game. It was the only maximum of the match, due to the Ageas Bowl's expansive playing area, but flew into the stands over deep mid-wicket.
Unsung hero: Adam Zampa might have been wicketless, but the legspinner only went for 17 off his four overs - without conceding a boundary. A rare positive for an Australian on Sunday!
Next: Essex Eagles aim to stay in contention for a knockout spot with a trip to face Surrey at the Kia Oval on Thursday, while Hampshire host Middlesex at the same time. Both matches start at 6.30pm.