Rain ruins it after Sussex score big runs at The Oval

Phil Salt batted well before rain ruined Sussex's hopes at The Oval / Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Phil Salt batted well before rain ruined Sussex's hopes at The Oval / Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Bad weather, and ultimately a threat of lightning in late evening, meant that both Surrey and Sussex had to be content with a no-result point in the Vitality Blast south group game at the Kia Oval.

Sussex did manage to score an impressive 159 for 2 from 13 overs, in a game originally shortened to 15 overs per side following afternoon rain. But then more rain arrived just before 9pm, plus the warning of electrical activity in the south London area, and the match was abandoned.

Luke Wright had hit a 30-ball 55, and Sussex’s score was further boosted by Laurie Evans’ 48 off 24 balls with four sixes and two fours, plus a quickfire 20 from 11 balls by Delray Rawlins, also including two sixes.

Wright and Phil Salt put on a rapid 71 in 5.2 overs for Sussex’s first wicket after they had been put in, and Salt’s departure for 33 off 14 balls, caught and bowled by Rikki Clarke from a skier, was perhaps an unlucky dismissal.

Salt, having hit the final ball of Jade Dernbach’s opening over for six and also plundered four fours, hoisted Clarke’s first ball – a waist-high full toss at the start of the sixth over – over long leg for another six. But it was not called a no ball, when it might easily have been, and Salt fell to the very next ball. If Clarke had been no-balled for an unfair delivery, then Salt would have had a free hit.

Wright fell to the second ball of the 10th over, bowled swinging at Clarke after a typically free-wheeling innings that featured eight fours and a six driven against Tom Curran over long off.

The 11th over, bowled by Mat Pillans, cost 19 as a high full toss did give Evans the chance of a free hit – which he duly deposited high over mid wicket for six – while a length ball was swung high over long on for another maximum by left-hander Rawlins.

Evans, who had warmed up by pulling Gareth Batty’s off spin for six, then tucked into Curran as he twice drove the seamer for successive sixes into the crowd, first over long off and then high over long on’s head. Curran’s two overs were taken for 37 runs.

A rain shower cut short Sussex’s innings two overs early, but Evans and Rawlins had already added an unbeaten 54 in a mere 3.4 overs to put the visitors into a powerful position.

Sussex Sharks captain Wright said: "It is very frustrating. I thought we batted absolutely brilliantly to get a really big score in the overs we faced, and at halfway we thought we were on for a win in what was a really important game.

"But then the weather intervened again which was a shame as the pitch was a bit damp and a little sticky. There's a lot of positives to take away from this, though, as we were outstanding as a batting unit tonight."

Earlier the day-long rain, which had washed out the opening day of England’s second Test against India across the Thames at Lord’s, finally relented around 6pm – which allowed the Oval groundstaff to mop up and for the umpires, Paul Pollard and Tim Robinson, to inspect at 7pm and sanction a start at 7.45pm.

Sussex will hope the rain stays away for a crucial home Blast encounter on Friday night at home to Kent Spitfires.

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