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Tough loss to take but all credit to Dane Vilas

Dane Vilas acknowledges the applause during a match-winning innings of 121 from 89 balls that burst Sussex's bubble in the Royal London One-Day Cup (Photograph courtesy of Lancashire County Cricket Club)

The Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final defeat by Lancashire was a tough one to take given the run that we were on and form we carried into Tuesday at home. But someone has to win and someone has to lose, and they were better than us on the day. We probably didn’t play our best cricket, but I’m proud of the boys. It was a very good achievement to top the group and get a home semi-final, and it’s a shame we just couldn’t get over the line.

We had them in serious trouble early at 67 for five and then Dane Vilas came and played an innings [120 from 89 with eight fours and six sixes] that just took the game a little bit farther away from us than we thought. It still felt like 320 was a few under par, but then the wicket did change a little bit in the second innings and made it a little bit harder to hit through the line and take risks. But credit to Vilas; he batted brilliantly.

We had been making record scores throughout the latter part of the group stage and on Tuesday we started in the same vein, as Ali Orr, Tom Alsop and Tom Haines had us above the rate for the majority of the first 15, 20 overs. It was in the middle period where Lancashire just grouped the ball well. There were some smart fields, some pretty clever bowling and it made it difficult for us to find boundaries and keep ticking over the scoreboard.

It was good to have club captain Tom Haines back from five weeks out with a broken hand. Obviously, he has been a pretty good performer for us over the past couple of years, but it was always going to be a difficult game to come into the semi-final first match back, with the pressure on and chasing 320. But that’s the way the game goes. He batted for his 49 but on another day, he gets off to a flyer and we get closer or potentially win.

The defeat means that we have seen the last of Cheteshwar Pujara in 2022. He left to return to India straight away after the match. I think he would have come back if we got to the final on September 17, but what a player he has been for us this year. Brilliant, and his stats speak for themselves. Even as captain the past couple of months when Hainesy was injured, he brought a lot to the group and hopefully we can see him back here next year.

It is important that we finish the season well. We finish with three County Championship matches and I think we can take momentum from this right into red-ball cricket with our intensity, the preciseness that we have been playing with, the clarity that we have been playing with. We could have a big month to end the season. We weren’t far off before the 50-overs competition, so we can take a lot of positives into it and get a few positive results.

We are not in action again until September 12 against Worcestershire so in between there will be a few practice days and we’re travelling to Newport in Wales to play in a second-team fixture. Both teams should be quite strong for that, and they just happen to be our final opponents in the championship to close the season. Good practice.

• Delray Rawlins was talking to Dexter Smith

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Published September 01, 2022 at 7:42 am (Updated September 01, 2022 at 7:42 am)

Tough loss to take but all credit to Dane Vilas

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