T20 Blast: Essex and Hampshire record needed wins
Essex recorded an exciting T20 Blast victory at South Group leaders Sussex, while Hampshire cruised past Middlesex.
The visitors hit 168-5 in their 20 overs, with Dan Lawrence (59*) and Ravi Bopara (45) both hitting good scores.
The hosts were reduced to 25-3 in the fourth over before David Weise (66) got them back in contention, only for them to fall nine runs short.
Meanwhile, Hampshire reached Middlesex's 128 inside 15 overs to boost their quarter-final prospects.
The hosts never really got going, with England One-Day skipper Eoin Morgan making 20 from 17 balls before being caught by James Fuller off the bowling of Liam Dawson.
James Vince's 69 from 42 balls, including 11 fours, helped the visitors to a fourth win of the group stage.
Despite slipping to a fourth defeat of the group stage, Middlesex remain third with three games to play.
Sharks slip to surprise defeat
Sussex had only lost once in the T20 Blast this season prior to Thursday's defeat.
Bopara and Lawrence, who had extended his contract with the county earlier on Thursday, batted excellently to move Essex from 84-4 to 166-5 before the former was caught brilliantly on the boundary by Chris Jordan in the final over.
Weise looked to be steering Sussex to what had seemed like an unlikely win but when he was trapped lbw by a slower ball from Simon Harmer (2-19) their hopes faded and were all but gone when Jordan (19) was caught by Bopara off the bowling of Mohammad Amir (4-29).
Essex visit Hampshire on Sunday in a game that neither side can afford to lose if they are to progress.