Bevan lifts Sussex to thrilling finale

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The Independent Online

Michael Bevan struck an unbeaten 65 on his first appearance of the season for Sussex to carry them to a thrilling two-wicket win over Hampshire at Hove in the Benson and Hedges Cup yesterday. The Australian Test player hit three fours from 102 balls, and Sussex - set 167 for victory - squeezed home with four deliveries to spare.

The win - Sussex's first in the competition this year - keeps alive their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals, although they still need to beat Essex at Chelmsford today.

Bevan, the Gold Award winner, revived the hosts after they had slumped to 29 for 5. Bevan and Robin Martin-Jenkins pulled Sussex round by putting on 97 in 28 overs, the young all-rounder hitting a one-day best 45 off 89 deliveries. Hampshire's veteran seamer Peter Hartley claimed his fifth wicket when he had Martin-Jenkins superbly caught behind by the stand-in wicketkeeper Derek Kenway, before Shane Warne claimed his first wicket in English cricket by trapping Umer Rashid lbw.

Sussex needed 16 off the final two overs when Jason Lewry was run out for 10. After Dimitri Mascarenhas conceded 13 in his over, three were needed off the last six balls from Alan Mullally, who began with a wide. Nick Wilton then took a single and Bevan hit the winning runs with a cover-driven boundary.

Hampshire had earlier been put in first and seemed to have done well to reach 166 for 9, having lost half their side for only 64. John Stephenson and Mascarenhas began the recovery by adding 37 for the sixth wicket, while Hartley batted sensibly to hit 32 off 46 balls and the 40-year-old shared in a ninth-wicket stand of 50 with Shaun Udal.