Hampshire were knocked off top spot in the NatWest T20 Blast South Group as they ran into in-form Jason Roy.
Roy bludgeoned Surrey to an eight-wicket win at the Kia Oval with a third fifty in four Blast innings.
Kevin Pietersen and Gary Wilson offered unbeaten scores of 24 and 31 respectively to secure victory though it was Roy’s blistering 63 in just 25 deliveries that set things up.
Hampshire's 131 for nine never looked like being a winning score as Roy shared a stand of 78 in 6.1 overs with new overseas signing Tillakaratne Dilshan, with his fifty taking just 19 deliveries to compile.
There were nine fours and three sixes in Roy’s 32-minute knock, with Matt Coles hit for four successive boundaries in the opening stages.
Mark Pettini marked his 99th Twenty20 innings with a fine half-century that saw Essex Eagles replace Hampshire at the top.
Essex, chasing a revised target of 123 from 17 overs after bad light had intervened during their chase of Somerset’s 150 for seven at Taunton, won by eight wickets with an over to spare.
Ravi Bopara struck 33 not out, while Jesse Ryder added 28 at the top of the order, but it was Pettini's unbeaten 60 that paced the innings to perfection.
His 15th format fifty was reached in 46 balls as the Eagles were 106 for two before the players were taken off.
When they reappeared, the calculations left them needing 19 from 15 balls and Pettini supplied eight of them within the space of four deliveries in the 16th over before Bopara went on to hit the winning runs.
Elsewhere in the South Group, Adam Rouse smashed 35 from 16 balls to take Gloucestershire to a thrilling, final-ball, three-wicket win over Kent Spirfires.
The wicketkeeper, who is on a one-month trial at the county, marked his second Blast appearance for them with a match-winning performance.
Having arrived at the crease with the score 89 for five with a little under six overs left, Rouse dragged his side into a competitive position.
With 12 required off the last over, bowled by Australia seamer Doug Bollinger, Rouse got the job done with boundaries off the third, fourth and last deliveries.
Opener Chris Nash led Sussex home at the BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground with an unbeaten 74, the Sharks’ second successive Blast victory.
Needing only 108 to win against Middlesex Panthers, Nash’s 53-ball knock – including five fours and three sixes – ensured there was little danger of the hosts losing.
But while the stars shone in the south, rain prevented three games in the north from reaching a conclusion, with the one game to survive the weather seeing Derbyshire Falcons – who chased Birmingham Bears' 189 with an over to spare – win their first Blast game.