Delray Rawlins and Sussex fall to six-wicket defeat against Kent
Delray Rawlins scored 28 runs and took a wicket but could not prevent Sussex from falling to a six-wicket defeat to Kent in the Vitality Blast in Canterbury last night.
Sussex were unable to follow up victory against Surrey on Thursday, against last year’s winners Kent, who won the toss and put the visitors into bat.
Young left-handed batsman Harrison Ward (33) and Ali Orr (36) put on a crucial second wicket stand of 73 after Mohammad Rizwan was uncharacteristically dismissed for four in the opening over.
The pair took Sussex to 77 for one from just eight overs to give the visitors a solid platform to build upon, before Ward was run out looking for a quick single.
Kent began to swing the momentum back in their favour, slowing down the run rate with spin and taking the vital wickets of Tom Alsop, Ali Orr and skipper Ravi Bopara.
Rawlins picked up where he left off with the bat, adding a valuable 28 runs to steady the Sussex innings. He was eventually caught behind in the 17th over, with his match-winning partner against Surrey, George Garton, at the other end.
Garton, who has been a huge miss for Sussex this season, played a vital role with Rawlins in the win against Surrey and once again played another brilliant innings at the death, making 31 from 16 deliveries to set Kent a target of 159 to win.
Rawlins returned to open the bowling and the decision paid dividends almost instantly, as he trapped Kent opener Tawanda Muyeye with just his third delivery.
Joe Denly and Jordan Cox were then begging to build momentum taking Kent to 48 from the first five overs, but Cox was dismissed by Henry Crocombe trying to pull a disguised short, slower delivery.
Denly continued to be a thorn in the side of the Sussex attack, picking his moments to hit boundaries on his way to a 35-ball half-century.
Bopara brought himself back into the attack to good effect, taking the vital wicket of Denly with a leg-cutter that held in the pitch.
Denly attempted to hit Bopara on the leg-side but sliced it down to third man where Henry Crocombe was waiting to take the catch, leaving Kent needing 65 from 48.
Sam Billings was building momentum at one end, but Denly’s replacement Alex Blake only lasted six balls before being trapped leg before by Rashid Khan back in his crease.
Although Kent did not hit an abundance of boundaries they ran hard between the wickets.
Billings had good support from George Linde at the other end, who after taking a couple of overs to settle, began to let go. The Kent pair saw the game to give the defending champions a victory in the 19th over.