Sharks sitting pretty after success
Sussex moved clear at the top of the Friends Life t20 South Group after edging out Essex in a run-fest at the PROBIZ County Ground.
Chris Nash made 52 and Joe Gatting 45 not out as the hosts amassed an impressive 209 for six, the second highest total in the competition this season.
Some big hitting from Mark Pettini and James Foster, who hit 44 and 47 respectively, kept Essex in contention, but they fell short in the end with Chris Liddle taking 3-35.
Sussex’s former Essex player, Scott Styris, took the man-of-the-match award after making a quickfire 36 and claiming 2-28.
Luke Wright and Nash set the tone by smashing 21 runs off the second over from Graham Napier as Sussex raced to 74 without loss after the six-over powerplay.
Wright carried on where he left off against Middlesex - when he hit 91 - on Friday night by making 40, striking sixes off David Masters and Napier before slapping a full toss from Ryan ten Doeschate straight to long-off.
His exit did not slow the scoring rate, however, as Nash and Styris continued to take the attack to Essex.
Nash made his runs from 41 balls, including two fours and as many sixes, before being stumped by a smart piece of work from Foster off a leg-side wide from ten Doeschate.
Styris enjoyed himself against his old side as he crashed sixes off ten Doeschate and Reece Topley before being caught in the deep for 36 off 20 balls.
Gatting ensured Sussex’s innings did not lose momentum; he hit a career-best score from just 22 balls, including four fours and two sixes, as the Sharks posted their second-highest total ever in the competition.
Essex made a slow start in reply but remained in contention thanks to Pettini, who made 44 off 31 balls.
The Eagles were well behind the run-rate at halfway on 74 for two, but some powerful hitting from Greg Smith and Foster gave them hope of pulling off a sensational win.
Smith hit three sixes in his 26-ball 39 before being bowled by Will Beer while Foster hit four maximums in a row to reduce the deficit to 25 heading into the final over.
Essex’s hopes disappeared when Foster was caught on the boundary with three balls to go.