Sussex sink Surrey for vital Royal London Cup win

Chris Nash / Picture by Phil Westlake

Chris Nash / Picture by Phil Westlake

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Chris Nash’s 82 from 87 balls, with three sixes and eight fours, spearheaded a fine all-round effort by Sussex at Hove as they first reached 300 for 8 and then bowled out Surrey for 205 to win what was an important Royal London One-Day Cup South Group match for both sides by 95 runs.

Mark Stoneman batted well for 60 in Surrey’s reply, and Ollie Pope offered late defiance with 55 off 63 balls but their challenge quickly faded after the former Durham left-hander pulled David Wiese straight to deep square leg.

Stoneman had already seen Scott Borthwick and Dom Sibley depart cheaply to edges behind, and soon Surrey had lost their top five with Ben Foakes brilliantly held for 3 by keeper Michael Burgess off an inside edge, with Wiese again the successful bowler, and Rory Burns falling for 31 when Danny Briggs dived to his left to hold a low one-handed catch off his own bowling.

The slump then continued to 146 for 7 with Sam Curran bowled by a George Garton near-yorker and Tom Curran skying Briggs to mid off. Gareth Batty, on 14, was held on the deep mid wicket ropes but the 19-year-old Pope reached a creditable 55-ball fifty, swinging Briggs for six and then late-cutting him delightfully for four.

Garton finally got Pope, well held by Jofra Archer at long on, and Wiese wrapped up Sussex’s third victory from five group matches by castling last man Ravi Rampaul to finish with 4 for 29. Sussex, who also have a No Result point in the locker, now have seven points in a group led by Somerset and Essex.

Seamer Wiese, who took 4 for 29 in Sussex’s win, said: “Qualifying for the quarter-finals is what it is all about and hopefully one or two more victories in our last three group games will clinch that.

“We’ve turned around our fortunes in this competition and I think that’s largely because all the senior players in the team sat down and decided we had to take more responsibility for the team’s performances and be accountable.

“Today was a very enjoyable day and I thought it was an excellent team display. All facets of our game clicked and we batted, bowled and fielded well. A total of 300 was always going to be a challenging target, and today was my day with the ball and everyone else also performed too in support. Our top order played nicely earlier, with Chris Nash and Harry Finch batting especially well, and that set it up for some of us to come in and push on in the closing overs.”

Put in on a good pitch, Sussex were also indebted to Harry Finch for a 78-ball 61 – he and Nash put on 85 for the second wicket – and Laurie Evans for a violent 37 from 23 balls with three legside sixes off Tom Curran, two in a 45th over which cost the Surrey seamer 24 runs.

That assault by Evans, plus useful late hitting from Burgess and Wiese, propelled Sussex to the 300 mark after their momentum had been temporarily stalled by Nash’s departure at 149 and the dismissals of both Finch and Stiaan Van Zyl in the 39th over.

Sussex’s innings was given a fine start by Nash and Luke Wright, who tucked into the Curran brothers in the initial powerplay overs – Nash taking three successive fours off Sam Curran in the fourth over and Wright then hitting Tom Curran for two boundaries in the next over.

Wright departed for 34 in the 12th over, inside-edging a drive at Rampaul, but Nash reached his fifty by lofting Batty’s off spin effortlessly over long off for six, and repeating the stroke in the Surrey captain’s next over.

Nash had also pulled Tom Curran for six but, after another powerful pull for four off the younger Curran, he top-edged a hook in the same over high towards long leg and saw Tom Curran run in to pull off a brilliant, athletic sprawling catch as he dived forward across the turf.

Van Zyl was another to fall to the short ball, top-edging to fine leg, while Finch nicked an excellent ball from Tom Curran to the keeper.

Evans, fresh from a spectacular match-winning hundred against Kent two days before which had included eight sixes, showed he was a man in form by beautifully extra-cover driving Stuart Meaker for an early four, before picking up a length ball from Tom Curran for his first six.

Umpire Nigel Llong did well to avoid a crashing straight four from the next ball, and the over ended with Evans flicking a full toss from Curran high over fine leg.

Burgess, after a straight six off Rampaul, skied to deep mid wicket on 23 and Evans was leg-before to Sam Curran in the same over that Archer was run out for 1.

There was just time for Wiese to club a huge six over long on off Rampaul before he was caught on the straight boundary for 23 from the last ball of the innings.

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