Friends Life T20, Hove
Sussex Sharks 173-4 beat Essex Eagles 141 by 32 runs
By Jack Bradshaw
Sussex Sharks got their Friends Life T20 campaign off to a winning start this evening after a comfortable victory over Essex Eagles at Hove.
Rana Naved starred with the ball, taking 5-17 to dismiss the Eagles 33 runs shy of their target under the lights at the PROBIZ County Ground.
After being put in by Essex skipper James Foster, the Sharks carried their batting form into the 20-over format as the hosts posted a competitive total of 173-4.
Chris Nash got the innings off to the perfect start with 43 off 28 balls, and he was backed up by Murray Goodwin (53) and Lou Vincent (35) who batted well through the middle-overs, as Foster was forced to use seven bowlers.
However, the Sharks’ innings lost momentum late on as Ben Phillips picked up 3-31 from his four overs.
In the only his second game for Sussex, Wayne Parnell removed England hopeful Ravi Bopara for only two, while spinners Monty Panesar and Michael Yardy bowled tightly as the Eagles lost regular wickets.
But it was Naved who stole the show and was on a hat-trick after removing Scott Styris (47) and the dangerous Graham Napier in successive balls.
Despite a strong batting line-up, Essex never looked like reaching their target, as Sussex got their T20 campaign on to the perfect start.
After losing in the quarter-finals last year, 2009 champions Sussex will be keen to reach finals day again this time around.