Nash wants to deny Styris the limelight
Sussex won their Friends Life t20 quarter-final thanks principally to Scott Styris’ pugnacious unbeaten century, but Chris Nash hopes the New Zealander’s batting will not be required on finals day.
Styris blasted 100 from 37 balls - the joint third-fastest Twenty20 ton - as the Sharks beat Gloucestershire by 39 runs at the PROBIZ County Ground a month ago today.
That earned Sussex a semi-final with Yorkshire at the SWALEC Stadium tomorrow, for which Styris has returned from the Sri Lanka Premier League.
However, opener Nash would rather he and his fellow top-order batsmen stop Styris wielding the blade in the semi and, hopefully for Michael Yardy’s side, the final in which Sussex would face either Hampshire or Somerset.
Asked to pick the Sharks’ most threatening player, Nash told ecb.co.uk: “I can’t really go away from Scott Styris, I suppose. That hundred he got in the quarter-final was pretty special.
“I hope he doesn’t get a chance, because that means we’ve got some runs up top. But he’s the kind of guy who can finish the innings or, if we do lose early wickets, he can make a big score.”
Styris’ hundred plus fifties from Matt Prior and Murray Goodwin aided a mammoth total of 234 for four versus the Gladiators, who did well to reach 191 for eight in reply.
With Yardy and Chris Liddle only conceding around six an over, that performance served as a reminder for Nash of Sussex’s all-round threat.
“We play with a lot of freedom. I think our batting line-up is pretty powerful,” he said. “Obviously you’ve got the likes of Luke Wright, Matt Prior, Scotty Styris, Murray Goodwin - you can keep reeling off names.
“So I think the combination of that means we generally get good scores on the board. And even when haven’t got great scores on the board, I think we’ve got a good bowling attack. We’ve got the likes of Michael Yardy, Amjad Khan, Chris Liddle.
“We’ve got a very good set of spinners as well, so we’ve got a lot to call upon and we’re good fun to watch. We generally go out there and express ourselves and have a good time.”
While Nash was a Twenty20 Cup winner with Sussex in 2009, Yorkshire will be playing in their first finals day, which the 29-year-old thinks could benefit the Sharks.
“It depends how they deal with it on the day,” he added. “I remember my first time there and it was a new experience and quite nerve-wracking. You didn’t really know what to expect. So we hope they get a bit of nerves and it does affect them.”
Knowing what to expect tomorrow, Nash is excited about English and Welsh cricket’s showpiece day.
“I think Cardiff is going to be a great atmosphere. It’s a special day,” he predicted.
“I think the whole qualification process is really hard, so to get out of that South Group I thought was a good achievement and then to win the quarter-final was obviously excellent as well. So it’s a special day: great for the fans and great for the club.”
Both finalists will be rewarded with a place in the Champions League T20 qualifier in South Africa, which will also host the competition proper in October.
“We went out to India the first year of the Champions League,” recalled Nash. “(It was a) huge experience for us. We’ve learnt a lot and those lessons we’ve learnt and brought them forward to this year and the last couple of years.
“It’s a great experience for everyone to go to South Africa. A great country, a brilliant place to go and it’s going to be a great tournament. So it’s a massive lure for all of us.”
Should Sussex lift the FLt20 trophy, it could be the first of three cups this season given they are also going well in LV= County Championship Division One and Clydesdale Bank 40 Group C.
“(These are) special times for us. You get to this stage of the year and to be in the hunt for all three trophies is pretty special,” he enthused.
“The next three weeks is going to determine whether we walk away with any trophies, or we might walk away with none.
“We’re in a great place. In the championship we’re playing brilliant cricket, got up to second place. (We're) massively in the hunt in the CB40 and in finals day as well. (There’s) a lot to look forward to, a lot of players playing well and we’re really excited.”