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Napier runs riot

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Graham Napier

Sussex felt the wide blade of Essex's Graham Napier

Graham Napier wrote his way into the record books with an astonishing display of hitting as Essex crushed Sussex by 128 runs in their Twenty20 Cup clash at Chelmsford.

The 28-year-old smashed a Twenty20 world record 16 sixes in a brutal unbeaten 152 off only 58 deliveries.

His innings, which also included 10 fours, was an individual record for the competition and only six short of New Zealander Brendon McCullum’s best in the shortened format.

Napier reached three figures in 44 balls, quick enough for him to overhaul Somerset's Marcus Trescothick as the new leader in the Walter Lawrence Trophy award for 2008.

“It was a fantastic night for me - really awesome,” said Napier. “I middled a few early on, started seeing the ball well and things just got better and better.

“It was just one of those days when everything seemed to go well. Even a bit of a mishit finished up going for six.”

Several of Napier's sixes sailed out of the ground or had spectators taking evasive action as the Sussex bowlers came in for the sort of punishment they will wish to forget.

The all-rounder shared in a third-wicket partnership of 119 in only seven overs with wicketkeeper James Foster, whose share was 48 from 23 balls.

Napier's performance beat the competition’s previous best of 141 not out by Somerset's Cameron White against Worcestershire two years ago.

James Kirtley conceded 67 from four overs as Essex posted a mammoth total of 242 for three.

It proved far too many for Sussex, who were skittled for 114 as they attempted to keep pace with a rapidly escalating run-rate.

They started encouragingly enough by reached 50 for the loss of only one wicket but there was never any prospect of them mounting a serious challenge.

Young paceman Maurice Chambers destroyed the top order by claiming 3-31, paving the way for spinners Danish Kaneria (2-8) and James Middlebrook (3-31) to heap further misery on Sussex.

The Sharks lost their last six wickets for just 22 runs and defeat confirmed their elimination from the competition.

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