Sussex in the T20: Jayawardena can go out with a bang

Sussex are off to the Ageas Bowl / Picture by Neil Marshall
Sussex are off to the Ageas Bowl / Picture by Neil Marshall

Luke Wright hopes overseas player Mahela Jayawardena can sign off his NatWest T20 Blast campaign by helping Sussex Sharks pick up a much-needed win.

The Sri Lankan legend plays the final game of his short stint with Sussex at the Ageas Bowl on Friday against Hampshire (7pm).

And although he tops Sussex’s averages (36.50) and run aggregate (219) his captain feels Jayawardena is determined to produce a match-winning performance.

Wright said: “Mahela has been really frustrated. He is such a legend he wants to win games for us and feels he hasn’t produced that one innings when he’s gone big and won us a game. He is desperate to do that and I think he is ready to sign off in style.”

Sussex’s South Group campaign has yet to find momentum. They have won twice and lost three while their last outing against Surrey on Sunday was abandoned after the horrific on-field collision involving Surrey’s Rory Burns and Moises Henriques.

Skipper Wright added: “ It has been tough so far. We wanted a settled side but through injuries we have not been able to do that at all which is massively frustrating.

Mahela has been really frustrated. He is such a legend he wants to win games for us and feels he hasn’t produced that one innings when he’s gone big and won us a game.

Luke Wright

“We need to improve but everyone is beating everyone again in the group so a few wins and you can find yourself right back up there. We have got to start that tomorrow but it won’t be easy against a top side.”

Sussex have consistently made good starts through a combination of Wright, Jayawardena and Chris Nash but failed to kick on and that is something Wright has identified needs to improve.

“We’ve had great starts and after ten overs I have been really pleased as the top three have dovetailed well.

“But if we lose a wicket we tend to lose a few more in clusters and as quickly as you have momentum you can lose it.”

Tymal Mills, Ajmal Shahzad, Lewis Hatchett and James Anyon continue to be absent from Sussex’s bowling attack while Tim Linley has been recalled by Surrey after just one game of his loan spell.

Harry Finch and second team batsman Phil Salt have been added to the squad which played Surrey.

Sussex (from): Wright, Nash, Jayawardena, Cachopa, Machan, Brown, Beer, Yardy, Piolet, Robinson, Beer, Finch, Salt.

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