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REPORT: Sussex beaten by Gloucestershire

04-Jul-2014

Ian Cockbain hit a 33-ball half-century as Gloucestershire beat Sussex by 13 runs at Bristol to keep alive hopes of reaching the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals.

A match reduced to 15 overs per side by rain saw the hosts make 138 for seven after losing the toss, Cockbain hitting 4 fours and 3 sixes in his 52. Chris Nash’s decision to field first with more rain threatening backfired as his side ended up batting in near darkness as they were bowled out for 125 in the final over.

The result took Gloucestershire, who began the campaign with a two-point deduction, level with Sussex on eight points and left both in striking distance of fourth place in the South Division.

Gloucestershire’s score was built on a second-wicket stand of 69 in seven overs between Cockbain and skipper Alex Gidman after Chris Dent had fallen early to Lewis Hatchett. Cockbain hit Hatchett over mid-wicket for the first six of the game in the fourth over and followed up with maximums off Steffan Piolet and Chris Nash.

Gidman helped take the score to 81 in the ninth over when well caught above his head on the deep mid-wicket boundary by Piolet off Will Beer for 22. Leg-spinner Beer went for only 21 from his three overs in mid innings and helped stem the Gloucestershire run-rate with two wickets as they slipped to 118 for seven after 14 overs.

Then Graeme McCarter launched a late assault on Hatchett, hitting him for 4,6,4 off the first three balls of the final over, which ended up worth 20 to the hosts, including a wide. Yasir Arafat claimed two of the wickets, while Chris Liddle was the most economical Sussex bowler, his three overs costing 19. Will Gidman was 26 not out and the end of the innings.

Sussex suffered an early setback in their run chase when Luke Wright was caught behind for a duck by trialist wicketkeeper Adam Rouse, standing up to seamer Will Gidman. With the light fading, the visitors looked to face a stiff task. It got more difficult when Luke Wells was caught by the diving Rouse off David Payne for three in the second over.

Nash responded with 4,4,6 at the start of Will Gidman’s second over, but fell for 25 when cutting David Payne straight to Cockbain at point in the fifth and final over of power play, which ended with Sussex 47 for three.

Matt Machan (pictured) kept Sussex up with the required rate with 28 off 19 balls, but when he was lbw trying to sweep left-arm spinner Tom Smith in the seventh over Gloucestershire sensed their chance.

Ben Brown and Will Beer did their best in now dark conditions, but Jack Taylor dismissed the former in conceding only five from the 13th over and Sussex required two a ball. McCarter kept it tight and 16 were needed off the last over from Taylor. Beer was brilliantly caught on the boundary by Marshall at full stretch above his head for 18 to end Sussex hopes.

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