Captain Ed Joyce indicated a shuffle of the Sussex Sharks line-up was in order for their next match against the Diamond Eagles in the Champions League Twenty20 following their defeat against the New South Wales Blues yesterday.
Sussex crashed to a 35-run defeat in Delhi, failing to chase down NSW's target of 131 on a slow and low pitch. NSW too had struggled at the start of their innings, but Phil Hughes made a painstaking 62, while Moises Henriques – promoted up the order ahead of captain Simon Katich – weighed in with a knock of 51 off just 33 deliveries.
Sussex's response began badly with Brett Lee sending back Joyce in the first over, and later Henriques took 3 for 23 as the county side finished with 95 for 8. Sussex now need to beat South Africa's Diamond Eagles tomorrow to progress to the second round and Joyce believes his batsmen need to step up their performance.
"The Diamond Eagles played here the other day and got 90-odd as well," he said. "So I think both teams will be looking at their batting line-up. This is a massive tournament for club teams and Twenty20 seems the way forward now. It's great to be out here and it would be good to beat the South African team and stay involved."
Joyce, who was due to play for Middlesex last year in the Champions League before the terrorist strike in Mumbai led to cancellation, was handed the captaincy just hours before the match after Michael Yardy was ruled out through illness. Joyce added: "I think Henriques was the difference between the two sides. We fell short by 30-odd runs and Henriques got 50 of them off just 30-odd balls so he deserves the credit."
Meanwhile, Alfonso Thomas kept a cool head in a tense finish on Saturday as the Somerset Sabres clinched a surprise one-wicket win over Indian Premier League champions Deccan Chargers in Hyderabad. The Chargers, asked to bat first, were restricted to a below-par 153 for 9 – despite 46 from VVS Laxman.
RP Singh then destroyed Somerset's top order with three quick wickets, and spinners Pragyan Ojha and Tirumalasetti Suman claimed two each – but James Hildreth (25) and Thomas (30no) helped Somerset home.
Laxman traded his artistic touch for one of sheer muscle as he got his side off to a flier. But when he fell, the Chargers lost momentum, and only Rohit Sharma (24) and Venugopal Rao's cameo 22 off 12 balls helped them to a competitive score.
Marcus Trescothick began the chase on a positive note, hitting Fidel Edwards for 12 in his first over, but Somerset then plunged to 99 for 7.
Yet they still needed only 44 from the last five overs, with Hildreth's and Thomas' 50-run stand for the eighth wicket meaning they needed just five off the last over. Scott Styris provided another twist by dismissing Hildreth and Max Waller, but Thomas struck two boundaries to seal a famous win.