Marvellous Mitchell sinks Sussex
Skipper Daryl Mitchell led from the front with his maiden one-day century as Worcestershire Royals began their Yorkshire Bank 40 campaign with an impressive 91-run win over Sussex Sharks at the BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground.
The opener made a run-a-ball 107 before departing in the penultimate over and then saw Sussex fall way short in pursuit of 246; the hosts were eventually dismissed for 154.
Sussex, beaten semi-finalists in this competition in 2011 and 2012, would have fancied their chances on a good pitch in front of a crowd of 6,500. However, they never recovered after losing their top four in the first 11 overs of the reply.
Mitchell was even able to pick up two wickets with his medium-pace as Worcestershire, who finished bottom of their group last season, secured a first one-day win on Sussex soil for 13 years.
The Royals made a bad start when Moeen Ali, who signed a lengthy contract extension earlier this week, was bowled in the first over trying to reverse-sweep Michael Yardy's left-arm spin.
Alexei Kervezee looked good until he was stumped giving left-arm chinaman bowler Michael Rippon the charge but Mitchell led a recovery with Sri Lankan overseas player Thilan Samaraweera, putting on 111 in 20 overs for the third wicket.
Samaraweera looked untroubled, en route to 41, until a mis-timed flick went straight to short fine-leg in the 27th over and there was little support for Mitchell thereafter.
Chris Jordan pulled off a stunning diving catch at mid-off to remove Neil Pinner and Worcestershire lost four wickets in seven balls after Mitchell reached a chanceless century. The opener was eventually run out backing up, ending a 106-ball innings containing nine fours.
Jordan belatedly found his rhythm to pick up two wickets in the final over but Sussex's bowling and fielding was below their usual standard.
In contrast, Worcestershire's out-cricket was excellent. Luke Wells, in only his seventh List A game for Sussex, spooned a catch to mid-off in the second over of the reply and Chris Nash was held at backward square-leg as the Sharks lost both openers for 16.
Mitchell dropped Matt Prior first ball but it did not prove to be an expensive miss. After Rory Hamilton-Brown was run out by Pinner's throw from midwicket, responding late to his partner's call for a single, Prior was stumped giving Moeen the charge.
Yardy held the innings together with 45 but he was run out when Mitchell deflected Jordan's drive onto the stumps as the non-striker backed up too far.