Mills and Rashid rattle through Glamorgan in stunning Sharks Blast win
Tymal Mills' left-arm thunderbolts finished the match with a thrilling hat-trick and Rashid Khan, their mesmerizing Afghan leg spinner, took 3 for 9 in three overs as Sussex Sharks produced a near-complete all-round performance under the Hove floodlights to thrash Glamorgan by 98 runs.
The victory keeps alive Sussex’s hopes of quarter-final qualification from the fiercely-competitive south group, and pushes them into fifth place on 14 points, ahead of Surrey and just one behind Glamorgan. The Welsh county now have just one game to play in the group stage, against leaders Somerset, while Sussex have two more matches to play.
Sussex’s win, only their fifth from 12 games in a campaign so far blighted by four No Result wash-outs, was packed with explosive hitting from Laurie Evans, Michael Burgess and Jofra Archer, a couple of spectacular catches plus high class pace and spin bowling from Mills, Archer, Chris Jordan, the slow left-armer Danny Briggs and, of course, Rashid.
Glamorgan, who began brightly in pursuit of Sussex’s 186 for 5, folded from 50 for no wicket to 88 all out – losing ten wickets for a mere 38 runs in 9.1 overs – and it all began with Rashid bowling Craig Meschede for 26 with his third ball, in the fifth over.
A near-93mph delivery from Archer then accounted for Glamorgan dangerman Colin Ingram, caught by Harry Finch at mid off for 1, before Kiran Carlson and Aneurin Donald fell in the ninth over, bowled by Jordan.
Carlson, on 14, cut hard to point where Evans flung himself to his left to pull off an athletic catch and, three balls later, Donald’s 21-ball 27 ended when Finch took a diving catch inches from the turf after sprinting in from deep cover.
From 71 for 4 the end came astonishingly quickly. David Lloyd was leg-before for 2, sweeping at Briggs, the acting captain, and the returning Rashid then bamboozled both Graham Wagg (4) and Chris Cooke, who was bowled for 12 by a googly.
Then came Mills, whose first two overs had gone for 20. With the first three balls of his third over, the 14th of the innings, the left-arm quick bowled Andrew Salter for 1, had Timm van der Gugten caught behind and, with a crowd of more than 5,000 roaring their support, castled No 11 Michael Hogan to transform his figures to 3 for 20 from 2.3 overs.
Sussex’s total of 186 for 5 was built on Evans’ 63 not out off 46 balls, with three sixes and four fours, plus a 26-ball 39 from Burgess that included two sixes and punchy knocks from Archer, Finch and Delray Rawlins.
Evans and Burgess added 74 in seven overs for the fifth wicket, while Archer contributed a magnificent six-ball cameo of 22 not out, including two sweet sixes to long off and long on respectively as the final over of the innings, from Hogan, went for 19 runs.
Sussex, who were 78 for 2 at halfway, accelerated so effectively through Evans, Burgess and Archer that 108 runs were plundered from the last ten overs, and 69 from the final five.
Finch, who replaced the injured Luke Wright at the top of the order, struck the first ball he faced for six, an effortless pick-up over wide long on off Ruaidhri Smith, and had raced to 22 before swinging his 11th ball, from van der Gugten, to deep square leg.
Phil Salt had gone early, for 1, but Rawlins then provided some forthright blows in a 20-ball 35 while Evans continued his fine form in this competition by helping to put on 60 in 7.2 overs for the third wicket and set up Sussex’s challenging total. Evans has now scored 454 runs from nine Blast innings this summer at an average of 90.80.
Evans, who pulled Wagg for six early in his innings, saw Tom Bruce fall for 1 in the 12th over – caught at long off looking to hit off spinner Salter for a maximum – to leave Sussex at 89 for 4. But then Burgess joined Evans and the pressure was soon building up on the Glamorgan bowlers as the pair traded powerful strokes in an impressive display of judicious hitting.
An Evans six over mid wicket off Salter was soon followed by Burgess launching a full toss from Smith out of the ground beyond wide mid wicket. Burgess then flipped seamer Hogan cleverly over his shoulder for four and repeated the trick against van der Gugten after Evans had bludgeoned Hogan for six and taken successive offside fours off Wagg – the first stroked through point and the next swatted over extra cover.
When Burgess fell to the fifth ball of the penultimate over, superbly caught off Wagg by Salter as he dived forward bravely at deep mid wicket, it merely brought in Archer to complete Sussex’s charge.
He might have inside-edged his first ball fortunately for four but, when Evans took a single from the first ball of the final over, Archer launched himself thrillingly at Hogan. Eighteen runs came from the next five deliveries, including a four sliced deliberately to the third man boundary and a two chipped back over the bowler’s head besides his two memorably-struck sixes.