County Round-Up: Sussex claim final Pro40 title despite last-day loss
Monday 28 September 2009
Sussex were made to sweat for 35 minutes at New Road before learning they had retained the First Division title in the last NatWest Pro40 League. Having lost their final fixture against Worcestershire by 49 runs, Sussex were eventually rescued by events at Taunton where Somerset were consigned to the runners-up spot in the now defunct competition after their defeat by Durham.
Replying to Worcestershire's 214 for 6, they crucially lost three wickets for eight runs as they lurched to 88 for 6 before being bowled out for 165 in the 35th over. The lower-order batsmen were landed with too much to do and despite three sixes in Piyush Chawla's 32 off 33 balls, Worcestershire secured third place after contributions by three players making farewell appearances. Surrey-bound Steve Davies, who left after the match to join the England squad in South Africa, made 33 off 22 balls.
Sussex's bid to reach their target misfired after Rory Hamilton-Brown had taken 16 runs off Jack Shantry in the opening over. Seam bowlers Chris Whelan and Gareth Andrew made a double breakthrough and Ed Joyce tamely smacked the last ball of Fisher's first over to mid-on.
Murray Goodwin raised hopes for a while but a serious collapse was under way when Fisher, who finished with 3 for 18, held the easiest of return chances. Yardy was unlucky to be run out by a deflection from the bowler, Daryl Mitchell, and Sussex must have thought it would not be their day hen Worcestershire's fielding reached new heights. Moeen Ali ran round the deep mid-wicket boundary to hold a chance from Chris Nash and Andrew Hodd was stunned by Mitchell's one-handed catch at short fine leg.
Sussex had performed adequately in the field with each of their six bowlers taking one wicket after an early battering. Davies looked set for special send-off, but after driving successive boundaries off Robin Martin-Jenkins, he was well caught by Goodwin at leg slip. Vikram Solanki and Stephen Moore kept things moving and the industrious Moeen raised the stakes with a straight six before Chawla had him caught at long-off.
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