Essex Eagles and Hampshire kept their Vitality Blast quarter-final hopes alive with wins over Sussex Sharks and Middlesex sides, who currently occupy top-four spots in the South Group.

Dan Lawrence’s unbeaten 59 and Ravi Bopara’s 45 from 24 balls guided Essex to a winning total of 168-5 against table-toppers Sussex during a nine-run victory at Hove. SCORECARD

David Wiese’s 66 from 37 balls took Sussex to 130-5 in the 16th over of the chase but when he was pinned lbw by Essex spinner Simon Harmer, the hosts stumbled to 159-9 from their 20 overs.

Chris Jordan’s run-a-ball 19 kept Sussex in the hunt but Mohammad Amir dismissed him in a three-run penultimate over, before Aaron Beard shipped just eight of the 18 runs Sharks required from the last.

Mohammad Amir bowled a superb penultimate over Mohammad Amir bowled a superb penultimate over Mohammad Amir bowled a superb penultimate over

Sussex remain top, a point ahead of Kent, two above Middlesex and three clear of Gloucestershire with three matches to play.

However, Essex and Hampshire are now just two points behind fourth-placed Gloucestershire after their Thursday-night wins.

Hampshire saw off Middlesex by seven wickets at Lord’s, as they skittled the home team for 128 and reached their target in 14.5 overs. SCORECARD