Sensational Ali Orr helps Sussex end championship drought with career-best 141
Sussex pulled off a sensational five-wicket win over Derbyshire in the LV= Insurance County Championship at the 1st Central County Ground in Hove yesterday.
Opener Ali Orr led the way with a career-best 141 and was ably supported by overseas player Mohammad Rizwan, who was unbeaten on 76 when the winning runs were scored, as Sussex ended a 19-match winless run in the championship that had stretched back to April 2021.
“It was a very good win for the boys,” said Delray Rawlins, who was promoted up the order and made 14 before he was caught spectacularly at mid-wicket by Wayne Madsen.
“It was a long time coming. We worked hard for four days and we earned the right to be in a match-winning position.”
Victory seemed unlikely when morning rain delayed the start until 12.15pm with a minimum of 76 overs to be bowled. That influenced Derbyshire’s decision to declare on their overnight total of 127 for seven, a lead of 341, as they set their sights on taking ten Sussex wickets in the afternoon and evening sessions.
Sussex paced their run chase to perfection and victory was sealed at 6.15pm when new batsman Danial Ibrahim hit the first ball of spinner Mark Watt’s 27th over for four.
Orr, 21, had earlier made up for his dismissal for five in the first innings by smashing 15 fours and six sixes in his 203-balls innings in 254 minutes at the crease.
After his partner, captain Tom Haines, was trapped leg-before for 20, Orr and Tom Alsop (55) gave Sussex the upper hand with a second-wicket stand of 181. Alsop faced 91 balls and hit six fours and two sixes.
A partnership of 97 for the third wicket between Orr and Rizwan kept the Derbyshire target well in sight as they took the score to 274 when Orr was third out.
Rawlins and Oli Carter (23) kept the required run-rate at a manageable level while in partnership with Rizwan, leaving Ibrahim to apply the finishing touches.
“It was an unbelievable feeling,” Orr said of the win. “An element of relief but absolute joy. You could tell by everyone at the end there, it was a great feeling.
“What we all deserve, really. We’ve worked so hard this winter. All the coaches and all the players worked so hard and it’s such a great feeling to finally have that win on board.”