Sussex Sharks 138 all out
Essex Eagles 163-7
Essex win by 25 runs
Essex Eagles off-spinner Simon Harmer took a magnificent hat-trick to inspire his side to victory over the Sussex Sharks in the T20 blast at the 1st Central County Ground in Hove.
Entering the attack in the third over, the Eagles captain Harmer had Tom Alsop and Shadab Khan caught by close fielders from his first and second deliveries.
Michael Burgess was then adjudged lbw from his third – a quicker, full ball which keeper-bat Burgess attempted to sweep.
Harmer later took Fynn Hudson-Prentice’s wicket – he was caught on 9 by Tom Westley – as the lacklustre Sharks were skittled for an abysmal 138. With eight balls to spare, they lost by 25 runs.
His fellow spinners were also impressive. Dan Lawrence snagged George Garton with a tough caught and bowled chance while Matt Critchley claimed a masterful 3-28.
The leg-spinner pinned Tom Clark lbw before bowling Tymal Mills with a fast, skidding delivery. He then had James Coles caught in the deep to conclude a deadly spell, overshadowed only by his captain.
The 19-year-old Coles was the only Sharks batter to offer any meaningful resistance. His dogged 35 off 31 balls kept the home side in contention as wickets tumbled but it simply wasn’t enough.
Left-arm paceman Daniel Sams concluded the Sharks innings with a well-disguised slower ball to Oli Carter. Sams too bowled a neat spell, taking one wicket for just 19 runs in his 3.4 overs.
Earlier, the Eagles limped to 163 for 7 from their 20 overs. The leg-spinner Shadab Khan, making just his second Sussex appearance, took 3 for 28 as the visitors struggled to score.
The Pakistan star played in the Sharks opening fixture but was forced off the field without bowling after a collision with Nathan McAndrew. He then missed the following game – against Surrey last Sunday.
Khan had Critchley caught on the boundary for 9 before Paul Walter chipped the very next ball to Ravi Bopara at point. Returning in the 16th over, he also foxed Westly, with Carter taking a high catch at Cow Corner.
Eagles opener Feroze Khushi was the only batter who seriously impressed for the Eagles. His classy 55 runs came from 38 balls and included several forceful shots.
The 23-year-old took a particular liking to the part-time seam bowling of Ravi Bopara and twice creamed him down the ground for four.
The usually dependable Bopara took some tap with the ball. From his three overs, the Sharks skipper was plundered for 27 runs.
The rest of his attack were far more reliable, however. Having removed opening batter Adam Rossington, Henry Crocombe kept a tight line to finish with figures of 1-27 from his four overs.
Mills was also tidy, taking the crucial wickets of Khushi and Dan Lawrence. After a fast start, England star Lawrence fell for a speedy 19, caught in the deep after smoking his first delivery for a massive six.
The defeat leaves the Sharks with only one win from three, while the visiting Eagles remain unbeaten.