Sussex in the T20 frame after seeing off Gloucs

Laurie Evans / Picture by Phil Westlake
Laurie Evans / Picture by Phil Westlake

Sussex boosted their hopes of qualifying for the T20 Blast quarter-finals after overcoming a mini batting collapse to beat Gloucestershire at Hove.

The visitors were bowled out for 138 in 18.4 overs after an excellent bowling and fielding display by the hosts, led by Chris Jordan and George Garton who both took three wickets.

Sussex stuttered when they lost 4 for 16 in 23 balls, but Laurie Evans supervised the chase with an unbeaten 45 and two sixes in the 18th over off former Sussex seamer Chris Liddle took Sussex to their second successive win at home with 14 balls to spare.

Chris Nash and Luke Wright had launched the reply with 42 for the first wicket before Gloucestershire dragged themselves back into contention. Nash (22) moved to 394 runs in this season’s Blast before top-edging Matt Taylor to short fine leg then Liddle struck twice against his former club when he removed Wright (22) and Stiaan van Zyl (5) in successive overs.

Skipper Ross Taylor’s poor run continued when he was lbw to Benny Howell for two but Evans and Brown steadied the ship with 25 for the fifth wicket. Brown was caught off a leading edge leaving Sussex needing 56 from eight overs.

Wiese struck two straight sixes to ease the tension in the home crowd before Evans, who had been badly dropped by wicketkeeper Phil Mustard on 30, finished it off in style, heaving Liddle onto the roof of the pavilion before pulling him high over the scoreboard.

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Evans said: "Losing in the way we did to Middlesex last night was always going to test us a group but I thought the attitude from the start tonight was excellent. To bowl them out for 138 was a very good effort and although we lost some wickets I felt that if I was in at the end we would win.

"It's been a frustrating season because I haven't really got going with the bat with all the rain around and the form of our top-order guys. So it was nice to get some runs and help get us over the line. Two wins from two will definitely get us into the quarter-finals and one might do it. Sunday at the Oval is a big game for us now."

Gloucestershire had been put in and made a disastrous start with skipper Michael Klinger, their leading scorer in this season’s Blast with 261 runs, edging Wiese to slip off the first ball of the match.

They were 2 for 2 at the end of the first over when Ian Cockbain was run out by Jofra Archer’s direct hit from short fine leg but the experienced Mustard (43) and Cameron Bancroft (37) rebuilt the innings nicely with a stand of 77 in 7.5 overs.

The muscular Mustard hit two sixes and six fours and his side were in a decent position to push on in the second half of their innings when they reached 79 for 2 in the ninth over.

But left-armer Garton had other ideas. He had Mustard caught behind off a thin edge and in his next over uprooted Bancroft’s middle stump with a searing yorker.

Gloucestershire never recovered and lost their last six wickets for 46 runs as Jordan and co. made short work of their lower order.

The England all-rounder bowled Payne and Liddle in the 19th over to end the innings and add to his earlier wicket of Jack Taylor, who was caught at long on. Jordan took 3 for 17 while Garton finished with 3 for 35, his third wicket coming after some agile fielding on the mid-wicket boundary by van Zyl who parried the ball back inside the rope and caught it even though he was on the ground. It epitomised an excellent fielding performance by Sussex who go to the Kia Oval on Sunday for a game pivotal to both sides’ chances of finishing in the top four.