Friends Life T20, Hove
Sussex Sharks 91-6 beat Somerset Sabres 90 by 4 wickets
By Jack Bradshaw
Ollie Rayner took career-best figures of 5-18 to dismiss Somerset for their lowest ever total in T20 history as Sussex ran out comfortable winners at Hove.
The tall off-spinner had been on loan at Middlesex at the start of the season.
He was handed his first T20 appearance of the year for Sussex only after captain Michael Yardy announced that he would be taking another break from cricket earlier today.
Rayner picked up the key wicket of Marcus Trescothick thanks to a superb catch in the deep by Luke Wright before tearing through the Somerset middle-order.
The innings didn’t get off to the best start for the Sharks with their overseas player, Wayne Parnell, forced off the field with a hamstring injury after bowling just six deliveries.
But Chris Liddle (2-15) bowled exceptionally, picking up two wickets in his second over and not conceding a run in his first.
Rana Naved, who has been their star performer with the ball so far in the tournament, wasn’t called upon until the 11th over, but the Pakistani took 2-14 to wrap up the Sabres’ innings.
The in-form Luke Wright (16) hit early boundaries but Sussex were forced to work hard for their runs as Somerset bowled tightly and Jos Buttler took two superb catches in the field.
Steve Kirby (2-17) and Gemaal Hussain (2-18) bowled well for the visitors but the game was already beyond them by half-time.
Stand-in skipper Murray Goodwin (28) played a mature innings to guide his side to within touching distance of their target before being given out caught behind, incorrectly, off the bowling of Roelof van der Merwe.
And it was fitting that Rayner should hit the winning runs with a beautiful lofted off-drive off Steve Kirby to seal the victory with 15 balls to spare.
Sussex remain second the South Division with a game in hand on leaders Hampshire, and travel to Lord’s to face Middlesex on Thursday (14 June).
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