Tom Abell and Sean Dickson shared a record Somerset fourth-wicket partnership of 144 from 68 balls as the defending champions thrashed Hampshire by 63 runs at Taunton.

Abell’s unbeaten 96 from 47 enabled Somerset to post 241-5 before seamer Ben Green recorded a career-best 5-29 to complete a crushing win.

Sussex Sharks rose to the South Group summit after a comfortable victory, overcoming Gloucestershire by 48 runs at Bristol, while Middlesex broke their duck in the tournament with a four-wicket triumph over Kent Spitfires at Canterbury.

In the North Group, Yorkshire Vikings openers Adam Lyth and Dawid Malan put together a partnership of 137 as their side cantered to a nine-wicket success against Derbyshire Falcons at Headingley.

Lancashire Lightning cemented their position at the head of the group, easing past Notts Outlaws – who are now the only team without a point – by six wickets at Trent Bridge.

There was a last-ball thriller at Grace Road, where Worcestershire Rapids were unable to score the boundary they needed and went down by four runs to Leicestershire Foxes.

Hampshire looked well-placed after reducing Somerset to 54-3 in the powerplay, with Michael Neser (2-30) taking two wickets – but they had reckoned without the destructive capability of Abell and Dickson.

The fourth-wicket pair flayed Hampshire’s bowling around Taunton and, although Liam Dawson eventually had Dickson (65 from 32) caught in the deep, the skipper – assisted by Lewis Gregory’s eight-ball cameo of 18 – took his side to a daunting 241-5.

Ben McDermott (46 from 29) and James Vince gave Hampshire some hope of challenging that with an opening stand of 77 from 44 but, once both had fallen to Green in the space of three balls, the visitors’ innings faltered and they were bowled out for 178.

Sussex topped 200 for the second successive game, with Australian opener Daniel Hughes registering back-to-back half-centuries as he top-scored at Bristol with 65 from 35.

James Coles hit 54 from 33 before a late flurry of sixes by Tom Alsop and Nathan McAndrew propelled the Sharks to 208-6, despite Josh Shaw’s 3-27 for the home side.

Gloucestershire never looked likely to get anywhere near the target, despite Cameron Bancroft’s 42 at the top of the order, and could only muster 160-8, with Tymal Mills and Fynn Hudson-Prentice taking 2-24 and 2-28 respectively.

Middlesex, who had lost their first three games, fought back with the ball after Daniel Bell-Drummond’s 60 from 38 had given Kent a strong platform, with leg-spinner Luke Hollman returning 2-18 and Tom Helm 2-24.

The home side totalled 173-8, but Middlesex chased that down with four balls remaining, Stephen Eskinazi (40 from 29) and Ryan Higgins (44 from 29) paving the way for Hollman to complete the job by hitting a six off Matt Parkinson.

In the North Group, Derbyshire made a flying start, with Aneurin Donald smashing a 19-ball half-century and reaching a career-best 84 from 41 before he holed out to give Ben Cliff his maiden T20 wicket.

But Yorkshire fought back after Donald and David Lloyd had shared an opening partnership of 114, with Joe Root taking 2-20 in three overs to help restrict the visitors to 179-6.

Lyth, who became the first Yorkshire player to amass 4,000 T20 runs, made short work of the target as he (84 from 51) and Malan (79 not out from 48) demolished the Falcons bowling – the latter steering Pat Brown to the cover fence to seal victory with 11 balls unused.

Lancashire captain Keaton Jennings struck his first half-century of the tournament to steer the Red Rose to victory over Notts Outlaws with nine balls to spare.

The home side lost wickets early on, with Chris Green taking 2-16 and Saqib Mahmood 2-28 and it was only due to Liam Patterson-White’s spirited 44 not out that they clambered up to 153-8.

Jennings anchored the Lightning chase with 64 from 49 and, although he was bowled reverse-sweeping Calvin Harrison, Matty Hurst’s unbeaten 33 saw his side over the line.

Leicestershire triumphed in a nip and tuck encounter against Worcestershire, Rishi Patel top-scoring with 48 in their total of 176-8 as Nathan Smith and Adam Finch took three wickets apiece for the visitors.

Former Foxes player Josh Cobb (34 from 25) and Ethan Brookes (37 from 16) looked set to win it for the Rapids, but they were pegged back by Lewis Goldsworthy (1-18) and Rehan Ahmed (2-27), before Josh Hull successfully defended 12 from the final over.