JOHN Simpson proved Middlesex’s hero as they beat Hampshire by 19 runs to revive their Vitality Blast hopes.

The keeper hit 30 quick runs from 19 balls to carry the hosts to 142 for six, before effecting three catches, a stumping and a run out as Hampshire collapsed to 123 all out in reply.

Tom Helm (2-12) and Middlesex skipper Steven Finn (3-27) both came close to hat-tricks as Hampshire, not for the first time in the campaign wilted chasing a small target, despite 43 from Tom Alsop.

Victory lifted Middlesex to six points, though they stay fourth in the South Group, while defeat left Hampshire’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages hanging by a thread.

Finn opted to bat after winning the toss and his faith was rewarded early on as Stevie Eskinazi and Max Holden started brightly.

Eskinazi twice struck Shaheen Afridi into the Mound stand and the Pakistan paceman also yielded five wides from a wild delivery fired down the leg-side.

However, once Holden skied a catch to backward point off the impressive Ian Holland (1-25) in the fourth over, the early momentum was lost.

But an enormous six from Simpson in the final over which sailed beyond the Nursery End sightscreen carried the hosts to 142 for six.

Hampshire have had their batting woes in the competition this season and began badly when James Vince edged Helm into the gloves of Simpson in the third over.

At 12 for three the visitors were struggling, but Alsop and James Fuller rebuilt.

Alsop raised the 50 by pulling a Nathan Sowter long hop to the mid-wicket fence and the 50-partnership came off 37 balls. The stand raised 71 before Fuller departed for 34 at the end of the 13th over.

Alsop continued to be aggressive, pulling Miguel Cummins for six, but a stunning caught and bowled by Sowter sent him packing with 51 still needed.

And wickets continued to tumble as the visitors were dismissed with seven balls left.

Skipper Vince said: “We are a bit low on confidence with the bat and we just need a couple of us to make some bigger contributions.

“We have been there or thereabouts in our last couple of games chasing, but we have not had anyone to really stand up to get us 50 or 60 not out to win us the game.

“With the ball I thought we were good, and we were good in the field too, so I was happy at halfway chasing that score on this ground with the size of the boundaries.

“We got ourselves in a position to get ourselves over the line, but it is tough for guys at the end to go in and score straight away.”