Adam Gilchrist is used to being in the spotlight but last night he might have appreciated a little less attention. Brought in by Middlesex to beef up their challenge for the Friends Provident t20 this season, the Australian wicketkeeper lasted just three balls – scoring two runs – before a 15,000-strong crowd saw him trudge back to the pavilion as the Lord's side were easily beaten by champions Sussex.
The man who got him – Yasir Arafat – is somewhat less high-profile but as a Twenty20 Cup winner on two occasions he is something of a 20-over specialist himself. He had earlier hit an unbeaten 25, providing vital support to Michael Yardy (37) as they followed Dwayne Smith (49) in repairing the Sharks' innings after a poor start. Sussex recovered from 33 for 4 to post 146 for 6, a seemingly modest total that proved entirely beyond Middlesex.
Four of the London team's batsmen got to 20 but none went beyond 30 as they mustered just 118 for 6 from their overs. Gilchrist's next chance to impress will come on Wednesday while Sussex, who are already looking a good bet to follow up their triumph in 2009 having won both their South Group games to date, face Kent that same evening.
The Spitfires suffered defeat last night to Hampshire, having dramatically overcome Essex on Wednesday evening. Too many of the Kent batsmen look out of form at the moment – Joe Denly, who scored 15 from 22 balls last night, is enduring a nightmare season, having finished last year in the England set-up – and Darren Stevens could not rescue them this time.
The former Leicestershire man hit 36 but the Royals – as Hampshire are now known following their link-up with Indian Premier League club Rajasthan – always appeared in conrol. The South Africans Neil McKenzie and Nic Pothas guided their team past Kent's 114 for 9 with two balls to spare.
Another South African, Loots Bosman, was to thank for Derbyshire's thumping 65-run win over Yorkshire. They have now won their first two matches in the North Group. The night's final game saw Warwickshire stroll to victory over Northamptonshire, Darren Maddy hitting 88 from 42 balls to secure victory in the 14th over.
Two England stars will appear in this year's tournament. Paul Collingwood will play for Durham on 13 June against Derbyshire and the next day against Leicestershire Foxes. Stuart Broad will be back for home matches for Nottinghamshire, on 13 and 15 June, against Worcestershire and Lancashire.