By James O'Brien
Luke Wright was in record-breaking form for Sussex Sharks last night as they ended their disappointing NatWest T20 Blast campaign with a stunning run-chase against South Group winners Essex Eagles.
The 29-year-old smashed a brilliant unbeaten 116 from 66 balls in a losing cause against Hampshire last week and he was at again at the Essex County Ground, this time getting the Sharks over the line.
Sussex were set a daunting 226 to win after Tom Westley hit a career-best 109 but the Eagles man was overshadowed by Wright, who hit the Essex bowlers to all parts.
To put his knock into context, he hit an extra 37 runs from the same number of balls he faced against Hampshire, giving him a domestic-record 153 not out.
It was unfortunately the last time T20 fans will see Wright in action this season as the Sharks could only manage a seventh-place finish in the South Group.
While he did not manage to eclipse Wright's 12 fours and 11 sixes, Australian John Hastings enjoyed himself with a 26-ball 80 to fire Durham Jets to victory over Northants Steelbacks.
Worcestershire Rapids bastman Ross Whiteley gave his former county Derbyshire Falcons the run around at New Road.
Whiteley walked out to the middle with the Rapids 76 for three at the end of the eighth over and fired them to a match-winning total of 209 with an unbeaten 84 from 38 deliveries which contained nine maximums.
Aaron Finch was at his swashbuckling best but he was denied a perfect send-off by a Notts Outlaws outfit inspired by England opener Alex Hales and taken home by skipper James Taylor.
The Outlaws' six-wicket win meant Yorkshire Vikings missed out on the final qualifying spot in the North Group, allowing Birmingham Bears to sneak into the quarter-finals.