Bowman on the Road: Alex Blake throws dagger through Sharks' heart
Today's extraordinary NatWest T20 Blast match at Hove came down to the very last ball.
An afternoon swathed in rain, great cricket, hard work and breath taking moments ended in a point a piece. Both hosts Sussex and visitors Kent were probably disappointed.
Early in the day it seemed that dry weather would accompany the match but that changed remarkably.
Rain became inevitable and by 3.45pm it turned up with vengeance. But in the interim period Kent were sent out to bat against an ever improving Sharks attack. Bell Drummond (5) and Denly (16) struggled against Wiese and Briggs as the power play came and went.
Keeper Ben Brown played his part with a world class take down the leg side to dismiss Denly. As Sussex looked to take the initiative Kent batsman Billings (64) and Neesham (51) would have had travelling fans purring. In what seemed like a blink of an eye Kent smashed to all parts with Jordan and Garton coming in for major stick. With an excellent 176 for 4 under their wing Kent batsman left the field as heavy rain turned up.
Not for the first time this season Hove ground crew were called into action and in no time Hove was immaculately under cover. Fans took shelter were ever they could. My friends and I choose the Palmeria for a beer and watch of England's ladies wining the World Cup (congrats to Mark Robinson and his squad).
As time wore on it was a bit of a shock to hear that play would resume at Hove with Sussex needing 88 off 8 overs. A stiff ask to be honest.
19 off the first over and the result might of seemed a formality. However after his 150 in the first two games Luke Wright's 2017 T20 campaign is starting to unravel fast. His 13 runs (from 4 inns) since is starting to have an adverse effect on the team's overall performance.
He connected well against a full length Neesham delivery but his lofted drive went straight to Blake who joyfully held on. That meat that Nash had to take the initiative. He (50 no) and Evans (23) carried the fight leading to two needed off the final ball. As the ground held its breath Nash punched a low drive down the ground. It looked as though we were home and hosed as Evans ran back to the bowlers end.
But take a bow Alex Blake, from 30 yards he took aim and fired out middle stump and was deliriously mobbed by his team mates. Hove stunned !
It is a point towards quarter final qualification but post match I felt there was frustration in both camps that two points were very much on offer. For Sussex that's five points from six matches which still puts us very much in the hunt.
Skipper Ross Taylor told me after the game: "I am really enjoying my time here at Sussex and this t20 competition. We are still looking to create some momentum which will get us into the quarter finals and beyond."
Sussex now have a few days to recover and prepare for the visit of Middlesex at HQ on Friday evening. Of that Head Coach Mark Davis said: "It's been a tough little period with travelling and playing three games in four days. We will take a couple of days rest, get in the gym on Wednesday and a full days practice on Thursday."
Sussex's 2017 NatWest Blast campaign is really starting to become very intense indeed. There should be no panic amongst the squad, officials, members and fans just yet. They just need to stick to the game plan and wins will naturally come their way. Plus indeed they are due a huge slice of luck!
I am still confident!