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REPORT: Sussex fall agonisingly short in thriller at Lord's


Despite dominating for most of the match, Sussex Sharks lost to Middlesex by two runs in a thrilling encounter at Lord’s on Thursday evening. 

Replicating a formula that had brought victories in Sussex’s previous two games, captain Ross Taylor elected to field first after winning the toss.

Intelligent, accurate bowling and another near-faultless fielding performance restricted the home side to 147-6 off their 20 overs.

Chris Jordan and Danny Briggs both took two wickets, whilst there was one each for Jofra Archer and George Garton.

Nineteen-year-old, left-arm quick, Garton was especially impressive. Entering the attack in the seventh over with the score on 46-1 and quickly finding the correct length on a slow wicket, he made it difficult to score during a four over spell at the Pavilion End that conceded only 26 runs. 

Pressure mounting, the Middlesex batsmen were then forced to take risks during Briggs’ overs from the other end. The result was that both the well-set Paul Stirling (40) and the dangerous Eoin Morgan (10) holed out off the slow-left armer.

Garton was justly rewarded with a wicket of his own in his final over when Jofra Archer caught James Franklin (2) on the mid-wicket boundary to leave Middlesex on 93-4 in the 13th over. 

Other than Stirling, Steve Eskinazi was the only other Middlesex batsman to make a significant contribution. His unbeaten 57 from 44 balls would prove crucial by the end of the evening.

After the early loss of Luke Wright – returning to the side after a four game lay-off – Chris Nash and Stiaan van Zyl once again formed a productive partnership.

The pair put on 56 for the second wicket and by the time van Zyl was well caught by Nathan Sowter for 34 off 26 balls with the score on 77, Sussex looked to be heading for a comfortable victory. 

Wickets fell at regular intervals thereafter, but with Nash batting superbly and passing 50 for the third consecutive game, Sussex continued to make steady progress towards their target.

When Nash’s innings of 69  – as notable for its deft shots into the gaps and positive running as much as for its nine fours – finally came to an end in the 18th over, the Sharks required 13 from 15 balls.

Just five were needed from the final over, but Tom Helm bowled a nerveless over of superb slower balls that Archer and David Wiese were unable to get hold of, leaving Sussex two short of their target and Middlesex celebrating an unlikely win.

After the match, Sussex Head Coach, Mark Davis said: “It is very disappointing because we played really strong cricket for four-fifths of that game and were on top.

“We weren't smart enough with the bat, with the exception of Chris Nash who played really well again. 

“On pitches like that which was slow with the ball stopping in the wicket you have to get bat on ball. If we'd done that we would have cruised to victory.

“We've still got a chance of getting into the top four but we probably need to win our last three, starting against Gloucestershire tomorrow.”

Tickets for that game against Gloucestershire at The 1st Central County Ground (7.00pm start) are available to buy HERE.

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