Chris Jordan's late blitz and Mustafizur Rahman's four-wicket haul on his NatWest Twenty20 Blast debut helped Sussex win the South Group encounter against Essex by 24 runs at the County Ground in Chelmsford on Thursday. The victory helped Sussex move up to fourth position on the points table.
Captain Luke Wright (32) and No 3 batsman Philip Salt (33) were chief contributors at the top of the order before Ravi Bopara's twin strikes, in his successive overs, reduced Sussex to 119 for 4. Ross Taylor was run out soon after but Jordan's 21-ball unbeaten cameo worth 45 at the fag end helped the visitors post a daunting 201-run challenge for the home side.
Essex's chase never took off. Barring a 42-run partnership between Ashar Zaidi and skipper Bopara (32), the hosts kept losing wickets are regular intervals. Mustafizur, coming back for his final spell, first got rid of Bopara in the 16th over to peg Essex back. In his next over, he got rid of James Foster and Callum Taylor and then sent back Ryan ten Doeschate to deny the opposition any chance of a late recovery.
The Bangladesh paceman Mustafizur was adjudged player of the match for his brilliant bowling figures of 4/23 from four overs.
Following the end of the game, Sussex skipper Wright was full of praise for Fizz, as he is fondly referred to in the cricketing world.
“It has taken some hard work to get him here, and a lot of people have worked hard to make it happen. Now we can see why he was worth so much time and effort. He is a very special bowler. He has put in a performance straight away that was very special to watch,” said Wright.
“It is so hard to pick what he is going to do. In the warm-up we were trying to work him out and we couldn’t. Credit to our wicket-keeper Craig Cachopa who kept really well to him – it is not easy when you’ve had no time to watch him before or to have faced him.
“He got a flight [Wednesday] so he’s come straight in and bowled like that. We have a very special talent on our hands,” he added.