Twelve days after his heroics in the World Cup final, Delray Rawlins’ teammate Jofra Archer made an impressive return to action with two wickets as Sussex Sharks tied with Surrey in a Vitality Blast thriller at a sold-out The 1st Central County Ground.
The 24-year-old showed no ill effects from the side injury which troubled him throughout the World Cup during four hostile overs, bowled in three spells at a cost of 21 runs, during which he picked up the wickets of Aaron Finch (6) and Surrey’s top scorer Ollie Pope, who was dropped on 16, for 43.
Fifteen days after removing him for a golden duck in the World Cup semi-final, Archer had Finch well caught on the square-leg boundary by Rawlins. He returned in the 14th over with a superbly disguised slower ball to dismiss Pope, who had just hit four boundaries in an over off Danny Briggs and appeared to be guiding Surrey to victory.
A 6,000 sell-out crowd had given Archer a standing ovation when he went out to bat earlier in the evening and they were treated to a thrilling finale. Surrey looked favourites with 29 needed off the last five overs with five wickets in hand but Tymal Mills dragged Sussex back into contention when two searing yorkers accounted for Tom Curran (19) and Ryan Patel (0) in the 18th over.
Mills was hugely impressive, bowling at serious pace and with lazer-like accuracy. He finished with 2 for just 16 runs from his four overs.
Then off the final ball of the 19th Rikki Clarke holed out to long on leaving ninth-wicket pair Gareth Batty and Imran Tahir with the task of scoring 12 from the last over from David Wiese, who was bowling his only over of the night.
Wiese conceded singles off the first two balls then Tahir stylishly upper-cut a full toss for six. Two runs came off the next two deliveries, leaving Batty to score three to win off the final ball. He drove to long on and the pair scrambled back for a second after Sussex missed with two throws at the stumps, either of which would have run him out had they been on target.
Earlier, Sussex had finished on 144 for 8 which was something of a disappointment after skipper Luke Wright and Phil Salt had smashed 50 in the first four overs.