Hampshire’s hopes of a sixth T20 quarter-final in as many years are in the balance after a third defeat in four games.
Bottom-of-the-table Middlesex stunned Hampshire with a 50-run floodlit win in front of a crowd of 5,816 – the Ageas Bowl’s second biggest of the season.
Middlesex arrived with no chance of qualifying after nine defeats in ten games, but they continued their impressive recent record at West End, where they have now beaten Hampshire thrice since winning Finals Day here in 2008.
Hampshire will now have to beat Sussex at home next Friday and Essex at Chelmsford a week on Tuesday to qualify, after another disappointing batting performance cost them dear.
After winning the toss, Hampshire conceded 173-6 with Paul Stirling effectively winning Middlesex the game with 64 from 41 balls (seven fours, two sixes).
Once again, Matt Coles (2-30) was the pick of the Hampshire attack, taking the big wickets of Middlesex’s two Irishmen; Stirling and Eoin Morgan, who was caught at long leg.
Needing more than eight-and-a-half an over, Hampshire crumbled in reply.
They failed to capitalise on a short boundary before another abject collapse saw them bowled out for 123 with 20 balls still remaining. Hampshire were behind from the start, after being restricted to 44-2 from their powerplay (Surrey managed 52-1).
Vince threatened a return to form with successive cover drives for four against both James Harris and Ollie Rayner.
But he was dismissed during the powerplay for the eighth T20 match in succession when he was caught at extra cover for a 14-ball 24, attempting a third boundary in as many balls against Rayner.
Rayner, the tall former Sussex off-spinner, also struck in his next over, the last of the powerplay, when Carberry (16) drove to mid-on.
As has been the case too often in recent weeks, Hampshire’s top order failed to build on decent starts and struggled against Middlesex’s spin twins.
Slow left-armer Ravi Patel (2-25), an exciting young talent, turned the screw.
Jimmy Adams swept Patel’s first ball for four and then swept Rayner for six but then was caught at long-off for a 16-ball 20.
Smith (11) was lbw to Patel and Sean Ervine (12) played on against the youngster.
Coles (16) hit Dexter for two sixes in three balls, straight and over the short mid-wicket boundary, but soon holed out to deep mid-wicket as Dan Christian took two wickets in his only over.
In his first game back at The Ageas Bowl since winning the 2010 final with Hampshire, Christian had Wood caught behind to leave Hampshire 115-7 – needing 60 from the last five overs.
But Hampshire were already midway through an X-rated collapse, with Glenn Maxwell once again holing out cheaply to long-off as they lost their last five wickets for 14 runs in 16 balls.