Bowlers blunt Sharks bite in low scoring win
2 August 2018
A tight bowling performance on a straw coloured pitch which didn't play as it looked was the foundation for a four wicket win over Sussex in the Vitality T20 Blast at Hove that takes Gloucestershire to the top of the South Group table.
Batting first after winning the toss, Sussex were restricted to 127-8 with David Payne and Andrew Tye each bowling a maiden and taking two wickets.
A brisk 35 from Miles Hammond ensured Gloucestershire didn't get stuck in the traps, and although Sussex took wickets to keep themselves in the game, some lusty blows by Jack Taylor, who finished 23 not out, saw the points head Gloucestershire's way with 10 balls to spare.
Watch Jack Taylor's reaction to the match here:
Retaining the side which beat Glamorgan at Cheltenham, skipper Michael Klinger lost the toss although David Payne admitted afterwards Gloucestershire would have batted first, given the choice. It turned out to be a good toss to lose as the pitch was much slower and lower than it appeared.
The Sussex total was modest because of the damage Gloucestershire did in the powerplay, which the home side finished at 27-4. Two of the wickets fell in the third over, with Klinger's direct hit running out Phil Salt and then Luke Wright lofting a catch to Tye at deep mid on. Payne, bowling a good length, found the edge of Bruce's bat two overs later - Roderick taking the catch - and when Burgess spooned a delivery from Tye to Noema Barnett at mid wicket any hopes of a big total had all but gone.
For a while Laurie Evans was Sussex's sole attacking force - indeed only he and Wright scored boundaries in the innings until Jofra Archer's clean straight six from the penultimate ball to add to Wright's earlier blow off Noema-Barnett in a rare expensive over that cost fourteen runs.
By adding 20 in the last two overs, Sussex gave their score a modicum of respectablity but in between it had been a real struggle as Smith (1-21) and Howell (1-23) slammed on the brakes, Howell also taking three catches including a well judged effort to remove Evans for 46 with more than six overs left. Payne finished with 2-15, and Tye 2-25 including the wicket of Sussex's star leg spinner Rashid Khan. With a small total to defend, the Sharks' hopes of victory leaned heavily on him.
Unsurprisingly he was introduced within the powerplay, and Klinger got the faintest of edges to 'keeper Burgess from his first delivery. Gloucestershire had lost their stabiliser, but with Hammond putting bat to ball with some force 38 runs had been chalked off in the first four overs.
Ian Cockbain made the mistake of playing back to Khan in his next over, and Sussex's other spinner Danny Briggs checked things even further as Hammond, having made 35 with five fours and a six, played an ugly shot and was lbw. Kieran Noema-Barnett was also out before half distance, but his two sixes over mid wicket off Danny Briggs meant the run rate for the last ten overs was down to 4.7 an over.
At this stage Khan had two overs left. He remained threatening and economical but no further damage was done, and two small stands involving Ryan Higgins took Gloucestershire to the brink of victory. 22 runs were added with Benny Howell until Howell lobbed Archer to Briggs at point, and only one blow was necessary to win the match when Higgins himself hit Jofra Archer to cover point.
Jack Taylor, his partner for the second vital stand, finished affairs by clubbing Jordan out of the reach of the diving Archer at mid off in the penultimate over to wrap up a very different match in Gloucestershire's favour.