DEAN Elgar’s third 50 of the Vitality Blast season helped Essex to a comfortable win over Hampshire – a fourth victory of the competition.

South African Elgar never looked fussed in chasing 167, as his 60 not out made in conjunction with the swashbuckling of Adam Rossington’s quick-fire 18, Micheal Pepper’s swaggering 44 off 24 and Jordan Cox’s unbeaten 41 guided them to victory.

Hampshire had been dragged a middling score by a late James Fuller flurry of 39 off 16, after Joe Weatherley had stoically struck 48.

After losing James Vince and Ben McDermott within three balls of each other in identical swings to deep square, the Hawks seemed to tempo their innings towards a 160 total having been stuck in.

Weatherley and T20 debutant Flecha Middleton ticked the runs along but never appeared in too much rush during a 47-run alliance.

Paul Walter strangled Middleton down the legside to end that partnership, and Matt Critchley stopped Toby Albert and Benny Howell from getting going.

Weatherley only scored four boundaries in his 48 but never looked bogged down. He was only denied a half-century when a straight drive smashed the non-striker’s stumps and he was lbw to Ben Allison next ball – Allison ended up with three for 44.

At 117 for six with 20 balls to go, it looked like Hampshire had undercooked their scoring – but Fuller entered to blast some crucial death over runs.

He played the biggest hand in the final three overs going for 14, 13 and 17 runs – with five six included and the total now looking closer to par.

Adam Rossington hit Michael Neser for six, six, four before the Australian took the pace off and found Rossington chipping to mid-off.

Elgar had already swatted Chris Wood straight back over his head for six and took the quick run-scoring lead with his elegant risk-free hitting.

His fifty off 34 balls relied more on the meaty middle of his bat than extravagant or inventive shots, with Pepper more than matching his rate.

Pepper survived a drop on three – before his 80-run stand with Elgar was ended when he swished to long on.

Cox showed no interest in the six-hitting of his predecessors to make sure no collapse was forthcoming to put on an unbroken 59 with Elgar.

He did open up with the winning post in sight with a couple of sixes off John Turner, as victory was secured with 20 balls to spare – with Cox classically driving to the boundary for an eight-wicket win.