Rain ruins Sussex hopes - again

Jofra Archer / Picture by Phil Westlake
Jofra Archer / Picture by Phil Westlake
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Sussex head coach Mark Davis spoke of the county's fristration after they lost another game to rain - one they felt they were in a position to win.

Rain again hit the Sharks as they attempted what would have been only their second victory in the NatWest T20 Blast at Hove on Friday evening.

They appeared to be in with a good chance of beating Middlesex when they restricted the visitors to 136 for six from 17.4 overs, when rain brought an early end to the innings and the match. It was the Sharks’ third no result of the season. With a tie against Kent, the Sharks have actually been beaten just twice this season.

Middlesex captain Brendon McCullum had promised something special when he hooked David Wiese over square-leg for six and slashed his next delivery over point for another maximum.

When he was dropped by Chris Nash at deep midwicket, a difficult, swirling catch, it looked an expensive miss. But next ball Chris Jordan had the New Zealander caught behind for a 15-ball 26.

In the following over, Jofra Archer struck twice in three balls, first having John Simpson caught at mid-off by Laurie Evans and then dismissing Eoin Morgan, caught behind for four. Morgan was almost caught at mid-on before he had scored.

James Franklin looked in the mood to rescue the Middlesex innings when he lofted Danny Briggs over mid-on for six. But he was caught at backward-point next ball, to leave Middlesex 81 for five in the 13th over. The players left the field for rain a short time afterwards, at 88 for five after 14.1 overs.

After a short break for rain a stand of 53 in five overs between George Scott (38 not out) and Ryan Higgins (31) lifted Middlesex to a competitive 136 for six after 17.4 overs. But then the rain fell again and this time it didn’t relent.

Davis said: “It was a massively frustrating match on two counts. We bowled particularly well to get Middlesex in that position. We did everything so well. And then the rain again. The whole group is very tight and the rain congests it even more.

“Danny Briggs was fantastic with the ball and Jofra Archer was fantastic once again. He’s a great talent. But it was a really good team performance today without the injured Luke Wright and Tymal Mills, who were both injured.”

Earlier in the day, Sussex batsman Matt Machan announced his retirement from professional cricket on medical advice. A wrist injury had kept him out of the side all season.

Machan said: “My long-term health is most important to me. I believe as a batsman I was only just starting to come into my own and it is a real shame that this has been cut short so early as I believe I had so much still to offer Sussex over the next few years.”