Vitality Blast South Group leaders Kent Spitfires lost their 100% record when they were comprehensively outplayed by Delray Rawlins and his Sussex teammates at a sold-out The 1st Central County Ground on Friday night.
Sussex, who themselves are unbeaten in the competition, moved to second place in the group table with this emphatic victory by nine wickets with four overs remaining. They now have eight points from their five matches, and a game in hand over Kent.
Sussex, chasing 155, got off to a fine start when Luke Wright and Phil Salt powered 38 runs off the first four overs before Wright was bowled by Adam Milne with the last ball of the fifth over for 24 off 18 balls.
Sussex were looking strong on 81-1 at the halfway stage, with Salt leading the charge with an unbeaten 40. But in the final stages even Salt’s destructive batting was overtaken by Laurie Evans, who hit Fred Klaasen for 16 in three deliveries.
Evans finished with 65 not out from 35 deliveries, with six fours and three sixes, while Salt’s unbeaten 63 from 44 ball included six fours and two sixes.
Jofra Archer, keen to prove his fitness for the second Ashes Test against Australia at Lord’s, returned for the Sharks and so did Chris Jordan, replacing Reece Topley, who was unavailable through illness.
Archer went for 20 in his first two overs. But Jordan broke through for the Sharks in the third over when his off-cutter hit the top of the dangerous Zak Crawley’s off-stump.
Daniel Bell-Drummond responded by hitting Jordan for successive sixes over square-leg as Kent raced to 52 after five overs before some tight bowling by Tymal Mills, who dismissed Ollie Robinson and Heino Kuhn in successive overs, Kuhn falling to a catch to Rawlins. Rashid Khan, who bowled Bell-Drummond with a googly for 50, and David Wiese - who took a superb catch off his own bowling to dismiss Alex Blake - gave Sussex control in the middle overs.
When Archer returned to bowl the 17th over, with the Spitfires 130-5, he conceded just three runs. And in the next over Mills dismissed the dangerous Mohammad Nabi for a 29-ball 43. In his final over, Archer conceded just five runs and had Milne caught in the deep by Phil Salt to finish with figures of 1-28 from his four overs.