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Holders march to next stage

Champions Hampshire Royals reached the quarter-finals of the Friends Life t20 with a five-wicket win over Essex Eagles under the floodlights at Southampton's Ageas Bowl.

Michael Carberry’s 41-ball 54 was the centrepiece of their victory, completed by a typically cool Sean Ervine and Neil McKenzie - who struck 36 and an unbeaten 29 respectively.

Hampshire, who surprisingly chose to field upon winning the toss, restricted Essex to 182 for five.

Owais Shah - batting with a runner after suffering a groin injury - struck 68 from 49 balls, including three sixes off Dimitri Mascarenhas and a fourth off left-arm spinner Danny Briggs.

Hampshire captain Mascarenhas, who is retiring at the end of the season and was warmly received by a crowd of around 10,000 when he came on to bowl, did have Shah caught at midwicket.

But Ryan ten Doeschate struck David Griffiths for two successive sixes and there were useful middle-order contributions from James Foster and Graham Napier. Ravi Bopara was bowled by Liam Dawson, attempting to sweep, for 15.

Carberry soon showed that, when it came to six-hitting, he was as competent as any batsman on show. He struck Napier for two maximums and, although James Vince and Jimmy Adams went cheaply when trying to improvise, appeared to be leading Hampshire to a straightforward victory.

That was until Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait was brought back into the attack by Foster, who promptly caught Carberry behind the wicket.

Hampshire's target of 55 off the last five overs was eased by the awarding of six penalty runs against Essex for a slow over-rate, brought on in part by wides from Tait and Reece Topley.

Experienced South African batsman McKenzie and Ervine, who swung Napier for six, ensured only two runs would be required off the final over.

Even though Ervine and Adam Wheater, playing against his old county, went in successive balls to Topley, the hosts won with four balls to spare and Carberry was given the match award.

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