The Hampshire Royals suffered their first defeat since winning last years tournament after the slipped to a 26 run defeat against the Essex Eagles at the County Ground in Chelmsford.
Tim Southee and Tim Philips (29-4) led the way, staring with both bat and ball to record their 4th victory and move into the top four of the Friends Life t20 Southern group.
Having opened the batting, Southee held the Eagles innings together smashing 74 runs from just 34 balls to help the stuttering Eagles record a total of 162-7.
The Kiwi smashed six boundaries and five sixes during an incredible performance with the bat on a wicket which the Eagles top order struggled to score on.
With the exception of Phillips (33) and James Foster (29) no other batsman reached double figures to leave the Royals facing a seemingly easy run chase at a normally high scoring County Ground.
Despite the loss of Jimmy Adams (5) and Benny Howell (11), the Royals got off to a good start thanks to James Vince and Neil McKenzie who shared a 3rd wicket stand of 39 before Phillips struck with the ball.
The 30 year old dismissed McKenzie (25) in the 11th over before changing the course of the game in the 14th over when he removed Sean Ervine (3), Shahid Afridi (2) and Nic Pothas (1) in the space of six deliveries to leave the Royals 101-7.
Dominic Cork (21) and Dimitri Mascarenhas (12) offered hope with a quick fire 8th wicket partnership of 25 but the Eagles stay calm to record a vital victory.