Sharks would have travelled to the Ageas Bowl Southampton yesterday (Thursday) in fine spirits after a good performance at Cheltenham and a point in the bag.
Plus they would have had a few days on the practice ground to prepare. It was no surprise then when Jofra Archer took a stunning running catch to take the dangerous Rilee Rossouw in the now familiar David Wiese first over. From that moment the hosts were never in it.
The fourth game of 14 was proving a little difficult in terms of travelling logistics. The old 206 was otherwised engaged and a late train back to Sussex was looking unlikely. However things have a way of working themselves out and in the end it was quite an easy night.
I took the 3.30pm train from Brighton direct to Southampton Central and then got a cab out to the ground. After the match Paul offered me a lift back to Burgess Hill. Simples!
For the first time in this NatWest T20 campaign skipper Ross Taylor lost the toss and was asked to field. As it turned out that worked out very nicely for Sussex. Wiese completed his one 'spell' for the inns 1 over 1 for 3.
That seemed to put not only Hampshire on the back foot but also a large home crowd. Nerves were palpable especially when the score reached 34 for 4 from four overs. Tom Alsop (64) was the only Hampshire batsman to show any kind of form. However that was never going to be enough against a exuberant Sharks fielding display and 4 for 18 from man of the man Archer. Hampshire were stranded on a well below par score of 126.
In reply Luke Wright fell early to an LBW decision however Chris Nash (32) and Ben Brown (42) calmly got their heads down. For ten overs we appeared to be watching a County game rather than the t20. Proper cricket shots, leaves and running the singles. The score clicked around to 85 for 1. Skipper Ross Taylor (15) looks like a batsman coming into form. Laurie Evans finally put the home crowd out of their misery with back to back boundaries in the 16th over. Sussex won by 6 wickets.
This 2017 NatWest T20 Blast campaign has suddenly come alive for Mark Davis and is squad. You can just sense that players are just coming into form and the fielding performance was perfect.
Judging by his broad smile at the end it was clear he was a happy man. It all bodes well for the next two exciting T20 Blast fixtures. The lads stayed in Swindon last evening on route to the Swalec Cardiff to play Glamorgan CCC tonight. They will then travel back to Sussex to play Kent CCC at Hove on Sunday afternoon. Another four points come 6pm on Sunday would go along way to quarter final qualification.
We will bring you both of these games here in the next few days. Like we said at the start, IT'S INTENSE !