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REPORT: More runs for Nash, but Sussex fall short


A fifth fifty of the tournament for Chris Nash was not enough for Sussex Sharks who fell 17 runs short of the target Surrey set them in Sunday’s NatWest T20 Blast fixture at The Oval. 

Nash is now the leading run scorer in the South Group, his 447 runs at an average of 44.7 also making him the third leading run scorer in the tournament as a whole.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first on a used-pitch, Surrey amassed 193-2 in their 20 overs.

Will Beer and Chris Jordan were excellent with ball for the Sharks, but an unbeaten 114 from Australian overseas player, Aaron Finch and a fifty for Jason Roy ensured that the home side’s total was beyond them.

Roy and Finch gave Surrey a rapid start as they raced to 91-0 off ten overs, but the introduction of Beer’s leg spin put the brakes on the Surrey innings during the middle overs.

Coming on after seven overs, Beer’s four consecutive overs from the Vauxhall End went for only 23 runs.

Varying his pace and flight and hitting an impeccable length, Beer forced the previously rampant Surrey batsmen to settle for ones and twos rather than fours and sixes. When Roy did go searching for the boundary he succeeded only in picking out Chris Jordan at deep mid-wicket, giving Sussex a breakthrough.

Beer and Danny Briggs bowled well in tandem, so that by the time Beer had completed his allocation at the end of the fourteenth over, Surrey had only extended their score to 113-1.

Crucially, however, Finch was still at the crease and his foot was soon back on the accelerator.

The 18th over would ultimately prove to be match-defining as Finch hit 30 runs from it, including four sixes in a row.

Chris Jordan was again superb at the death, consistently hitting a yorker length and preventing the Surrey batsmen from clearing their legs and freeing their arms. 

Testament to Jordan’s skill was the fact that in a total of 193 he went for only 19 and didn’t concede a single boundary. Beer was only hit for one. 

Starting their innings, Sussex required an imposing 9.7 runs per over for victory and to begin with they managed to keep the rate from climbing significantly.

After ten overs, the score had reached 92-2 and the Sharks - needing 102 for victory - were still very much in the game. 

Nash again demonstrated what sublime form he is in, scoring quickly with a mix of power hitting and intelligent placement. Not for the first time in the tournament, he received support from Stiaan van Zyl, who hit a breezy 29 off 21 balls.

Nash’s fifty came off just 31 balls, but he fell soon after when Gareth Batty had him caught in the deep in the 14th over to leave Sussex on 115-4.

By now the pitch appeared to be showing its age, the ball not coming onto the bat in the same way that it had during the first innings. Sussex’s batsmen found it increasingly challenging to time the ball and the required rate quickly rose.

Chris Jordan hit a quick fire 24 off 10 deliveries after coming in in the 17th over, but the game was up and the Sharks fell short.

Gloucestershire and Somerset’s defeats over the past 48 hours means that - despite Sunday’s loss - Sussex remain in third place in the South Group by dint of their net run rate.

They are one of five sides in the division tied on 12 points, but have played one more game than three of them: Gloucestershire, Surrey and Essex Eagles.

Essex are Sussex’s opponents in their final match of the group, an encounter the Sharks must win, whilst hoping results elsewhere go their way in the coming week, if they are to make it into the last eight. 

Tickets for Friday’s clash with Essex at The 1st Central County Ground (7.00pm start) are available HERE.

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