Sussex feel they have turned a corner in their T20 season, despite the results.
Sharks supporters might console themselves with the thought that in this season’s NatWest T20- Blast they have been beaten only twice - the same record as table-topping Surrey in the south group.
That is, however, a rather Panglossian view of affairs. With just one victory in six matches they are bottom of the table ahead of tomorrow’s (Friday) home fixture with Middlesex.
For head coach Mark Davis, however, the Sharks’ recent performances have been encouraging.
“We made a slow start in the competition but in recent games we have shown better form,” he said. “We have seen real improvement and have been in a position to win recent games.”
Sussex were favourites to win their most recent game, against Kent at Hove, when they needed eight runs off the final over with seven wickets in hand.
“But with two runs needed off the last ball Laurie Evans was run out by Alex Blake and the match ended in a tie.
“It was a great game for spectators, if not the coach,” grimaced Davis. “With a bit more luck we would have won the game.
“And there has also been some rain around when we’ve been in promising situations in other matches.”
The only success for the Sharks came when they ended Hampshire’s unbeaten start to the campaign on the back of Jofra Archer’s career best Twenty20 figures of four for 18.
Now Davis is hoping Sussex can repeat that success against Middlesex, who are just one place above Sussex in the table. “Middlesex are a strong team, packed with international players.
“The problem is that if you’re looking for an easy win you’re out of luck because there are no weak teams. That’s what makes it such a great competition.
“You always have to be at your best. But we’re posting scores and I’m happy with our policy of picking six bowlers, with maybe two spinners. So I think we’ve got the mix right.
“Tymal Mills has come back and even though he’s had a couple of niggles he’s brought some genuine pace to the attack.”
Luke Wells is not in the team even though he has just reminded Davis of his form with his second double century, this time for the seconds.
Davis said: “Luke has shown how well he can strike the red ball this season. Because of injury he didn’t figure in the 50-over side.
“If he had done I’m sure he could have staked a claim for getting in the T20 line-up.”