Afridi puts Sussex in a spin
Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi was on song again as Hampshire surged to the top of the Friends Life t20 South Group with a 35-run win over Sussex at the Rose Bowl.
Afridi, opening the innings, hit a rapid 29 off 17 balls as Hampshire could only muster 126 for eight, then took three quick wickets as Sussex collapsed from a position of authority.
The visitors looked to be coasting at 52 for one in the seventh over, needing only another 75, but they subsided against Afridi and Imran Tahir, the Pakistan-born South Africa spinner.
Sussex lost their last nine wickets for 39 runs as Hampshire raced to their seventh win in 10 fixtures, lifting them two points clear of nearest challengers Somerset and Sussex.
When Hampshire batted they struggled against the spin of Monty Panesar and Ollie Rayner. Afridi's knock, which included two fours and two sixes, was the highest of the innings.
Umar Gul and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan took two wickets each at the death as Hampshire struggled to put a decent score together.
Their cause looked lost despite Sussex losing opener Chris Nash at 20 but it all changed when Afridi came on to bowl. In his first over he dismissed Lou Vincent and Luke Wright and Sussex never recovered.
Murray Goodwin went in the next over to a catch at the wicket off Tahir and Sussex could find no way out of their spiral.
Afridi bowled Ben Brown in his next over, Danny Briggs got rid of Rayner and Tahir continued the Sussex destruction by dismissing Rana and Gul in the space of three deliveries in the 14th over.
Chris Liddle and Andy Hodd kept flickering Sussex hopes alive with a stand of 18 for the ninth wicket but Dominic Cork came on for the 18th over and wrapped up the innings by sending back Liddle, thanks to a smart catch by Briggs, and Panesar first ball as Sussex were shot out for 91.
Hampshire's victory came with 13 balls to spare as Afridi finished with figures of 3-10 from three overs. Tahir took 3-13 from four.