Chris Jordan is hoping home advantage in their last game this evening (Friday) can make the difference to Sussex Sharks’ bid to reach the knockout stages of the NatWest T20 Blast.
A South Group campaign of remarkable highs and lows comes to an end at Hove when Essex Eagles are the visitors (7pm).
Only victory would give Sussex the chance of reaching the quarter-finals and even that might not be enough depending on other results. Having a better net run rate than some of their rivals could be an advantage but the winners will not know their fate until the game is over.
The Sharks have had mixed fortunes at Hove. They have lost to Hampshire and Glamorgan, tied with Kent and were frustrated by rain against Middlesex. But they go into Friday’s showdown with back-to-back victories over Surrey and Gloucestershire.
Jordan said: “We’ve played some pretty good cricket at Hove in our last couple of games. We’ve approached both of them very positively and if we do the same against Essex then we will give ourselves every chance. It’s good in a way that we know what’s at stake. Nothing but two points will do but we know we will have to produce our A game.
“They’ve got some good players. Mohammad Amir is a world-class bowler and guys like (Ryan) ten Doeschate and (Ravi) Bopara are very experienced in T20. But with a good home crowd behind us let’s hope we can get the result and that others go our way.”
Ben Brown will captain Sussex after Ross Taylor, whose wife is expecting their third child, returned to New Zealand on Wednesday. Taylor’s likely replacement is Phil Salt, although all-rounder Ollie Robinson has also been named in a squad of 13. But there is no place for former Essex paceman Tymal Mills, who is still suffering from a hamstring injury.
The Sharks will hope Mills can recover in time for next week’s quarter-finals, should Sussex make the cut.
“It’s incredible how tight the group is,” added Jordan. “We have had competitive South Groups in the past but I can’t remember a situation where every team has a chance of going through.
“We were disappointed with some aspects of our performance in our last game against Surrey but we’ve reviewed that and know there are areas we can improve for tomorrow.”
Sussex (from): Nash, Wright, van Zyl, Salt, Evans, Brown ©, Wiese, Jordan, Archer, Beer, Briggs, Garton, Robinson.