Mills hat-trick rounds off emphatic Sussex win
Sussex 186 for 5 (Evans 63*, Rawlins 35) beat Glamorgan 88 (Rashid 3-9, Mills 3-20) by 98 runs
There is no stronger bowling attack in the Vitality Blast than Sussex and, if further emphasis was needed, Tymal Mills roused himself for his first T20 match of the season with a hat-trick to complete the obliteration of Glamorgan at Hove. A 98-run win, Glamorgan dispensed with for 88 in 13.3 overs, was just the fillip they needed in potentially the first of three victories in four days that would deliver them a place in the quarter-finals.
Mills' hat-trick was the third in the Blast this season, following his Sussex team-mate Jofra Archer and Kent's Joe Denly. His first two overs had gone for 20. With the first three balls of his third over, the 14th of the innings, the left-arm quick bowled Andrew Salter for 1, had Timm van der Gugten caught behind and castled No 11 Michael Hogan to transform his figures.
But it was Archer, perhaps more than anyone, whose dismissal of the redoubtable Colin Ingram ensured Glamorgan's challenging pursuit of 187 - a tall order on a slow surface offering all the bowlers some encouragement - would be stillborn. He fell for a single and little more than half-an-hour later observed the ruins of Glamorgan's innings and admitted: "I didn't see that coming."
Few wickets are more prized in the Vitality Blast than that of Ingram, Glamorgan's captain, who was last seen on a home-produced video training by bashing a tyre with a sledgehammer. Sussex's task was to make the wheels come off as fast as possible - and Archer ensured that they did.
If you need to dismiss Ingram early - a bulldozing batsman with an average of 67.67 and strike rate of 165 - then a bowler with Archer's talent, tanking down the Hove slope at 90mph-plus, is as good a plan as any. Ingram was late on a pull and Harry Finch collected the catch at mid-off. In an instant, Glamorgan's pursuit of 187, even allowing for a decent surface and a short legside boundary looked much further away.
Glamorgan had begun well but from 50 for nought lost all 10 wickets for a mere 38 runs in 9.1 overs. Rashid Khan, Sussex's Afghan legspinner, again showed that alongside great talent comes a maturity that belies his 19 years. He bowled Craig Meschede third ball with a googly and went on to take 3 for nine in 3 overs
Kiran Carlson and Aneurin Donald fell in the ninth over, bowled by Jordan. Carlson, on 14, cut hard to point where Evans flung himself to his left to pull off an athletic catch and, three balls later, Donald's 21-ball 27 ended when Finch took a diving catch inches from the turf after sprinting in from deep cover.
From 71 for 4 the end came astonishingly quickly. David Lloyd was leg-before for 2, sweeping at Briggs, the acting captain, and the returning Rashid then bamboozled both Graham Wagg (4) and Chris Cooke, who was bowled for 12 by a googly.
Glamorgan would have joined Somerset and Gloucestershire as qualifers from South Group - a West Country trio in the last eight - had they forced victory. Instead, they must now await what could yet turn out to be a winner-takes-all affair against Surrey in Cardiff on Friday night.
Briggs said: "Tymal finished it off in great style but all the bowlers did brilliantly. They came at us hard at the start of their reply, to get to 50 for none so quickly, but the nature of our bowling attack is such that we can always turn it around. And having someone like Rashid Khan in your side certainly helps - he changed the game tonight.
"Perhaps bowling under the lights helped Rashid and myself a little bit, as it was a slow pitch and the ball zipped on slightly for us - but I still think we adapted better and, in our innings, the way Laurie Evans and the others batted at the back end of our innings really set us up."
Don't talk to Sussex about the glorious English summer. Four of their 11 matches have been washouts, leaving them without a home victory and needing three wins in the last week to give themselves a decent chance of a quarter-final place.
They had a new captain, too, to try to guide them there - Briggs, their softly-spoken yet tough-minded left-arm spinner, after Luke Wright had succumbed to "acute lower back pain" during training.
As Briggs was quick to indicate, Sussex's 186 for five owed much to Evans whose fifth half-century in nine matches revealed a solid temperament that was not always apparent at Birmingham Bears. With the Bears, he gave the impression of an uncomplicated hitter. Here he glued Sussex's innings together - an innings that was always one wicket away from faltering -before blitzing 27 off his 67 runs against the last 10 balls he faced.
Delray Rawlins, a languid, long-limbed left-hander, also made a polished contribution with 35 from 20 balls after both openers had fallen early. Andrew Salter bowled his offspin with intelligence, removing Phil Salt at long-off, Harry Finch (Sussex's Aaron Finch lookalike) skled Timm van der Gugten to mid off and then Salter struck again later in the innings when Tom Bruce failed to drive him up the slope.
From 89 for 4, Sussex made 97 off the last 48 balls with Mark Burgess offering Evans excellent support, all climaxed in perfect fashion by Archer's 22 from six balls. If Sussex put a score on the board in their last two games, it will take a good performance to stop them.
David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps