Sussex Clinch Pro40 Title In Thrilling Climax

Sussex 229-8 (Goodwin 87no, Yardy 53, Swann 3-33) beat
Nottinghamshire 226-7 (Patel 78, Prince 33, Kirtley 3-39) by two wickets.
NatWest Pro40 Division One, Trent Bridge

Sussex clinched the NatWest Pro40 Division One title in a tight finale to their winner takes all contest with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. Chasing 227 for victory the Sharks hit 17 of the last over to win with two wickets remaining.

The visitors had a good start to proceedings as opening bowlers Mohammed Sami and James Kirtley took a wicket each in the early exchanges, as Nottinghamshire found themselves two down with 19 on the board after winning the toss and electing to bat. Samit Patel continues to impress for the Outlaws since his return from International duty with England, he compiled a useful partnership with Will Jefferson in decent time to get the hosts back into the game. The lanky opener departed to the ever economic Robin Martin-Jenkins, before cameos from Ashwell Prince (33) and Chris Read (31 not out) got the home side past 200. Fine death bowling from Kirtley saw the paceman capture two tail-enders to superb yorkers, after Patel reached his half-century. He eventually fell for 78 to Rory Hamilton-Brown as one of two wickets for the spinner as the home side finished their 50 overs on 226 for seven.

Sussex had great death bowling from Kirtley to thank to keep Nottinghamshire below 250; he returned the pick of the bowling taking three for 39. Martin-Jenkins went for 37 from his eight overs whilst picking up the wicket of Jefferson.

The Sharks got off to a reasonable start as Michael Yardy and the inform Matt Prior looked to take advantage of the fielding restrictions. However, when Prior and Luke Wright fell in quick succession to Darren Pattinson the game turned on its head. Chris Adams took a while getting in, his 24 came off 46 as the home side turned the screw. Yardy meanwhile was going well at the other end; he made a half-century in good time before falling shortly after for 53 off 51 balls. He was one of three victims for Patel, who had a fine all-round game, going on to take the wickets of Martin-Jenkins and Carl Hopkinson cheaply. Fellow spinner Graeme Swann was working well in tandem with Patel as the pair dried up the runs taking regular wickets as the visitors found themselves eight down for 130. Sami and Murray Goodwin came together win 97 still needed for victory, and slowly but surely they got their side back into it. Goodwin continued his fine run of form bringing up his half-century, to back up his unbeaten 54 against Middlesex on Thursday. Sami provided adequate support for the Zimbabwean, but with 15 needed for victory in the last over it looked as though Nottinghamshire would claim victory and the title. However, two boundaries one from Goodwin and one from Sami, meant Goodwin needed a four of the last ball of the innings, he went one better and smashed a six to cow corner to bring up a fantastic victory.

Patel and Swann were brilliant for the home side in the middle overs; both returned three wickets, whilst Swann edged runs conceded 33 to 36. Pattinson claimed the other two wickets as Sussex claimed the title, their first since 1982 and their second ever since the competition began in 1969.

Division One Table
Sussex (champions)
8 12
Hampshire 8 10
Durham 8 9
Nottinghamshire 8 8
Gloucestershire 8 8
Somerset 8 7
Worcestershire 8 7
Lancashire (relegated) 8 6
Middlesex (relegated) 8 5

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