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REPORT: Sharks beaten by Yorkshire on Finals Day


Sussex Sharks’ hopes of claiming a unique treble this season were dashed amidst a carnival of cricket at the Friends Life t20 Finals Day yesterday, which was held at the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff for the very first time.

Yorkshire elected to bat first after winning the toss and with some tight bowling in the early exchanges from both Styris and Yardy, things looked to be going Sussex’s way as the Tykes were reduced to 36 for 3 in the 6th over, the promising Joe Root trapped leg-before to an attempted Yorker from Styris. An 82-run partnership between Jonathan Bairstow (68 not out), another player released from the England side this week, and hard-hitting South African David Miller (47) changed the complexion of the innings and the Finals Day debutants reached 172 for 6 from their 20 overs, which looked to be a stiff target on a slowish pitch.

The Sharks knew they would have to bat well to chase down this total but two of their key batsmen were back in the Pavilion inside the first three overs of the innings. Luke Wright, who had already scored 300 runs in the tournament this term, chopped on from former England seamer Ryan Sidebottom whilst Prior, looking to pull International team-mate Bresnan over mid-on could only find the hands of Ballance.

Chris Nash (pictured), so often a figurehead at the top of the order for Sussex in all three formats of the game, was already holding the innings together and put on 40 with Murray Goodwin who attempted to steady the ship before the latter holed out to Ballance in the deep off the bowling of Richard Pyrah for 15.

Joe Gatting could only add 3 to the score before he was bowled by Pyrah but there was a sense of renewed optimism from supporters when Styris strode to the crease in search of a similar innings in Sussex colours to his knock against Gloucestershire, the equal third-fastest t20 hundred of all time. It wasn’t to be though, as he failed to get hold of Azeem Rafiq and found the safe hands of Ballance once again waiting on the straight boundary for only 8.

Nash ploughed a lone furrow for the Sharks, particularly playing the ramp shot well as he looked to maximise the pace of the Yorkshire bowlers. But Sussex’s luck was epitomised with the dismissal of Will Beer. With Yardy and Matt Machan both having been dismissed and the Sharks still needing 72 with little more than three overs remaining, the rampant Nash smashed Sidebottom back towards the bowler whose slight touch diverted the ball onto the stumps and accounted for Beer run out at the non-strikers’ end.

It summed up a below-par performance for Sussex, bar Nash who was offered scant support as he got to grips with the Carnegie attack. His superb unbeaten innings of 80 took only 58 balls as he carried his bat, consisting of 8 fours and 2 sixes. Only Goodwin (15) was the other Sussex batsman to reach double-figures as the Sharks went down by 36 runs.

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