An accomplished century from Rob Yates lifted Warwickshire to a thrilling four-run Royal London Cup win over Sussex at Edgbaston.
The victory extended the Bears’ unbeaten start to the group campaign while leaving Sussex with a second defeat to go with their two wins.
Warwickshire were lifted to a meaty 314 for six by Yates’s second List A ton, 114 from 111 balls, supported by aggressive knocks from Will Rhodes (76, 70) and Michael Burgess (58, 51).
Bradley Currie led Sussex’s bowling with two for 51 while Aristides Karvelas picked up two late wickets to end with two for 44.
Sussex’s gallant reply fell short on 306 for seven despite Cheteshwar Pujara’s classy century (107, 79) and Ali Orr’s 81 (102) as Krunal Pandya took three for 51, George Garrett two for 50 and Olly Hannon-Dalby two for 55.
After choosing to bat, Warwickshire were given a sound platform with an opening stand of 69 in 15 overs between Yates and Hamza Shaikh. Sixteen-year-old Bears product Shaikh looked comfortable on his debut before he was run out when Yates called for a very sharp single.
Rhodes raced to a 53-ball half-century against a Sussex attack that stuck to their task well in perfect batting conditions and intense heat.
With Yates anchoring the innings skilfully, the second wicket added 131 in 19 overs before Rhodes, having just scooped Henry Crocombe for six, ladled the next ball to deep square leg.
At 235 for two from 39 overs, Warwickshire were well-placed to go huge but a brake was applied by an excellent over from Currie. He dislodged Yates with one that nipped away to take the edge and, two balls later, dismissed Pandya for a duck in similar fashion.
Burgess smote three fours and three vigorous sixes to ensure that his former team would have to chase over 300 – a substantial target but about par in the conditions.
Sussex’s reply was briskly launched by their young top order. Orr advanced to a 67-ball half-century supported by perky cameos from Harrison Ward (24, 36) and Clark (30, 43) before both chipped catches up to the infield.
Orr was closing in on his second List A century when he pulled Pandya to deep square leg. When Tom Alsop chipped Garrett to mid-wicket, Sussex were leaning heavily on Pujara as they started the last 10 overs needing 102.
Delray Rawings slog-swept Pandya to deep square and Danial Ibrahim sliced Garrett to backward point but Pujara raced from 50 to 100 in just 22 balls, taking 22 off a Liam Norwell over, to keep Sussex in the game.
They needed 20 from the last two overs but, from the first of those 12 balls, Pujara was yorked by Hannon-Halby.
A composed last over from Garrett concluded with Karvelas needing to hit the final ball for six – he managed just a single to resounding cheers from a big crowd which had richly enjoyed a fine match.
Warwickshire bowler George Garrett said: “That was awesome. There is still a lot of adrenaline going through me now.
“There have been a lot of challenging moments with injuries in the last couple of years so it was really nice to be involved in a game like that.
“From about 10 overs from the end I knew I could be bowling the last over and it reminded me of the Leicestershire game here last year so I just thought, ‘I’ve done it before so I can do it again.’
“It is one of the formats when things can change very quickly. We were on top then Pujara showed his class and they were right back in the game.
“It was a great atmosphere at the end. The members certainly made themselves heard when Pujara had those breaks when he wasn’t feeling well. It was a great crowd, awesome weather and a win at Edgbaston … what more can you want?”
Sussex captain Cheteshwar Pujara said: “It was a close game and we were almost there but credit goes to Warwickshire. They had enough runs on the board.
“We batted well but we could have probably bowled a bit better in the middle overs. Our lengths could have been better in that phase.
“But the guys are young. They are learning and their batters have played a lot of cricket here so knew the right times to accelerate.
“We will learn from this. We have been playing good cricket throughout the season and have started getting results and a couple of good wins have boosted the confidence of the team.
“I am sure we will keep getting better and we are all looking forward to trying to bounce straight back in the next game.”
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