Friends Life T20, Rose Bowl
Hampshire Royals 126-8 beat Sussex Sharks 91 by 35 runs
By Jack Bradshaw
Hampshire’s international spin-duo of Shaid Afridi and Imran Tahir shared six wickets as Sussex slumped to back-to-back defeats in the Friends Life T20.
Former Pakistan captain Afridi and South Africa’s Tahir took three wickets each as Sussex collapsed feebly in the top of the table clash at the Rose Bowl.
Having lost the toss, Sussex performed admirably with the ball to restrict the hosts to a total of 126 for 8 from their 20 overs.
Spinners Monty Panesar (2-24) and Ollie Rayner (1-20) controlled the middle overs well before Pakistani seamers Rana Naved and Umar Gul picked up two wickets a-piece at the death.
In response, the Sharks looked to be cruising back to the top of the table requiring only 75 more runs with nine wickets remaining before Afridi inspired the Hampshire fight-back.
Afridi removed Lou Vincent, Ben Brown and danger-man Luke Wright in the space of 11 deliveries as the visitors were pegged back to 59-5.
Tahir bowled a double-wicket maiden as Sussex were powerless to stop the collapse, eventually being dismissed for 91 in the 18th over.
Wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd was left without a partner as he finished on 18 not out.
The win sees defending champions Hampshire return to the top of the table, two points ahead of Sussex.
The Sharks will need to regroup with games coming thick and fast as they look to secure a place in the quarter-finals.
Next week sees Sussex play no fewer than five T20 matches.
But first they host Warwickshire at Arundel in the County Championship starting on Wednesday (29 June), as they return to four-day action.
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