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Styris flies Eagles to top spot

Friends Life t20

Matt Prior & Scott Styris

Scott Styris crashed an unbeaten 52 as Essex continued their impressive form

Scott Styris hit an unbeaten 52 off just 26 balls as Essex Eagles beat Sussex Sharks to leapfrog them into second place of the Friends Provident t20 South Group.

Michael Yardy hit an unbeaten half-century to help Sussex post 185 for four but Essex chased down that target with four balls and five wickets to spare at the County Ground in Hove.

Alastair Cook, well supported by opening partner Ravi Bopara’s 39, hit a quickfire 63 as the Eagles made a positive start to their run-chase, but they still needed 62 off the last five overs.

Styris made sure they got them as he smashed two fours and four sixes despite an injury which required him to use a runner.

Sussex had won the toss but lost England duo Luke Wright and Matt Prior cheaply inside the opening four overs.

That brought Murray Goodwin and Yardy to the crease and the former dominated a stand of 77.

He raced to his fifty off just 26 balls with seven fours before being run out for 55 going for a suicidal second run and was well beaten by Tim Phillips' throw.

That prompted Yardy to step up the pace and brought up his half-century by pulling Chris Wright for six and, together with Dwayne Smith, they added 72 in less than six overs.

Yardy finished on 76 from 51 balls, including five fours and three sixes, while Maurice Chambers was the pick of the Essex bowlers finishing with 2-29 from four overs.

Bopara and Cook gave Essex and explosive start as they raced to 74 without loss after seven overs, before the former picked out picked out Chad Keegan on the boundary.

Cook brought up his fifty with a four off Rayner but Will Beer swung the match back in Sussex's favour with three quick wickets.

Cook was caught on the boundary by Yasir Arafat for 63 while the leg-spinner also claimed the scalps of Mark Pettini and Matt Walker, the latter courtesy of a stunning catch by Smith.

Grant Flower was run out in the 18th over to leave Eagles needing 27 from the last two overs, but Styris saw them home in style with three sixes in the space of seven balls.