HAMPSHIRE secured a fourth Friends Life t20 quarter-final in as many seasons after heavy rain came to their rescue at a sodden Ageas Bowl.

England’s Matt Prior blasted the Royals attack for a sensational 81 from only 37 balls as Sussex reached a formidable 203-5 before the second and final downpour ended the match in the 18th over.

The deluge gave the Royals a share of the two points that is enough to guarantee them a place in the last eight.

Hampshire’s Jimmy Adams admitted:”We got lucky with the weather! That was a bonus, the rain gave us a helping hand.

“The weather’s been a nightmare and is frustrating for everyone but chasing 200-plus would have been very difficult and we’re delighted we’ve qualified.

“Hopefully we can beat Essex on Sunday and make it a home tie.”

Essex beat Kent last night but Hampshire's point guarantees a quarter-final place, at worst as the second-best of the three third-placed sides.

A Royals win against Essex at The Ageas Bowl on Sunday (2.40pm start) will be enough to earn a home tie as the best of the runners-up if Nottinghamshire lose at home to North Group rivals Leicestershire.

Full story in Saturday's Daily Echo