Sussex Sharks are good enough for Blast success - but now have to prove it

Sussex are on course to qualify for the last eight of the Vitality Blast – and pace ace Tymal Mills says that’s the minimum they should be achieving.

Tymal Mills has had an excellent Blast campaign so far / Picture: Getty
Tymal Mills has had an excellent Blast campaign so far / Picture: Getty

With three games left the Sharks are fourth in the south group – but face a vital match against Essex at Hove on Friday evening.

Mills says Sussex have one of the stronger squads in the Blast this year but admits it’s about making sure the players deliver when it matters.

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“Not many counties have as many T20 specialists,” the bowler explained before the group campaign started.

“We’ve got enough experience in the squad. It’s just a case of everyone making sure they are fit and ready – we have been chomping at the bit.

“We want to win. We feel we have a squad that’s good enough - one of the stronger squads on paper in the competition. We all know that. Everyone else knows that. It’s on us to deliver.”

In the two most recent Blast campaigns, the Sharks have fallen at the quarter-final hurdle, having previously finished runners-up back in 2018.

This year, Sussex have their sights on going all the way in the competition, aiming for their first Blast title since 2009. Without question, they have the players who can lead that charge.

“It’s all about how you deliver under pressure,’’ adds Mills, whose express left-arm pace has caught the attention of franchises across the globe.

“It’s maybe something that we haven’t done as well in the past few years - losing out in quarter-finals and in the final itself, a few years ago.

“We will always set ourselves high standards with the squad that we’ve got and the experience at our disposal.

“In theory, we should be even stronger this year. It’s just a case of being smart and executing.”

Tasked with getting Sussex over the final hurdle is James Kirtley, the former bowling coach, who is joint head coach alongside Ian Salisbury – the pair replacing Jason Gillespie. Kirtley has particular responsibility for the Blast team.

“I really like working with [James] Kirtley,” Mills stated. “We think in similar ways: trying to exploit our strengths and not worrying too much about the weaknesses. He has some cool ideas, and hopefully we can go out and implement them.”