Sussex won by 3 wickets
David Wiese’s magnificent unbeaten 79 saw Sussex beat hosts Middlesex by three wickets in a thrilling Vitality Blast clash at Lord’s.
The Sharks’ all-rounder hit three sixes and eight fours, surviving a catch from a James Harris no-ball as the visitors recovered from 67-5 to reach a victory target of 166 with four balls to spare and go top of the South group.
Wiese’s winning hand came after Danny Briggs (2-21) had restricted the hosts to a below par 165-5 which owed much to Stevie Eskinazi’s 79.
Eskinazi, fresh from his 84 in the thrilling tie with Kent three days earlier, came out bristling with intent, hitting two savage boundaries in the first over bowled by George Garton.
And when Ollie Robinson, so often Middlesex’s nemesis steamed in from the Pavilion End in the next over, the Seaxes’ red-ball skipper promptly pulled him for six eight rows back into the Mound stand.
However, Max Holden perished early, and the hosts were 58-1 at the end of the powerplay.
It was then the outstanding Briggs began to weave his magic, bowling Martin Anderson for 14 before having Nick Gubbins caught in the deep.
With Will Beer wheeling away effectively at the other end, even Eskinazi became becalmed and a reverse sweep from John Simpson in the 12th over was the first boundary for 34 balls.
The diminutive wicketkeeper would strike three maximums in his 46 from 31 balls as he and Eskinazi added 80 for the fourth wicket.
But both perished in quick succession to Robinson (1-30) and Tymal Mills (2-33) respectively just as a par score looked possible and the innings petered out.
Defending 165 looked a tall order even with in-form openers Phil Salt and Luke Wright striding to the crease.
Wright though would miss out, holing out to Steven Finn at mid-on for just 4 in a first over bowled by Helm, the hero of Saturday’s thrilling finale.
Salt deposited Finn’s first ball into the Grandstand to signal his intent. But Finn extracted swift revenge when Salt pulled another short one from the Seaxes’ skipper into the hands of Dan Lincoln on the square leg boundary.
And when a brilliant piece of boundary fielding saw Lincoln parry a pull shot from Harry Finch off Finn into the hands of teammate Nathan Sowter, Sussex were 37-3
Delray Rawlins took up the chase, planting deliveries from both Finn and debutant Hollman into the same spot in the Mound stand Eskinazi had found earlier.
However, there was delight just one ball later for Hollman (2-33) when he pinned the all-rounder leg before.
The youngster wasn’t finished, striking again in his next over when Ravi Bopara drove him to him to the safe hands of Eskinazi at cover.
He and Sowter (0-20) appeared to be bowling well in tandem, but James Harris was reintroduced and promptly produced a no-ball leading to a free hit from which Wiese smote the biggest six of the night.
It was the signal for the all-rounder to cut loose, hitting Hollman for 17 off his next over, including another towering six.
With George Garton proving an excellent foil, the 50-stand came in just 25 balls.
Wiese pulled Finn savagely to the boundary to reach 50 in just 33 balls, but Middlesex were back in it when Harris castled Garton with 36 needed.
Helm (2-17) returned to bowl Robinson and Middlesex sniffed victory when Wiese holed out in the penultimate over only for the umpire to call no-ball, but Wiese had the final say.
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