Wright guides Sussex to victory
Sussex 124 for 1 beat Middlesex 123 by nine wickets
Matt Prior scored just four on his return to county duty but Sussex Sharks secured an easy nine-wicket win against Middlesex Panthers in Group A of the CB40 League at Hove.
Prior's only scoring shot was a delightful straight drive up the Hove slope for four off Tim Murtagh but in the second over he looked surprised when umpire Andrew Hicks upheld Ashes team-mate Steve Finn's half-hearted lbw appeal.
It was the only success Middlesex's bowlers were to enjoy as Ed Joyce and Luke Wright put on an unbeaten second-wicket stand of 118 to ease their side to victory in the 23rd over. A fast outfield and easy-paced pitch meant they needed to take few risks and it was only when the target was in sight that either batsman began to open their shoulders.
Wright hit a flat six off Neil Dexter over extra cover and 11 boundaries on his way to only his second domestic one-day half-century since 2009. The England all-rounder finished undefeated on 71 from 68 balls while Joyce contributed 47 from 63 with three fours and a six over long on off slow left-armer Tom Smith.
Earlier, Middlesex never recovered after losing three wickets in six balls, two of them to Naved Arif. In the seventh over Scott Newman was yorked and four balls later Paul Stirling caught behind off a flat-footed jab outside off stump.
It got worse for the visitors in the next over when another left-armer, Chris Liddle, had Dawid Malan caught at short-extra cover to leave Middlesex 29 for 3. Liddle picked up his second wicket when Neil Dexter was well caught by Murray Goodwin diving forward on the deep square-leg boundary and Middlesex lost their fifth wicket in the 18th over when Chris Rogers was totally foxed by Rana Naved-ul-Hasan's slower ball.
Gareth Berg led a recovery of sorts with only the second one-day half-century of his career. The South African struck four boundaries in his 52 off 79 balls and added 51 for the sixth wicket with Ben Scott to give his side hope.
But Middlesex collapsed again when Berg holed out to long on, losing their last five wickets for 16 runs. Wright picked up his second wicket later in the over when Smith played on and Rana finished with three for 26 after he bowled Murtagh with one which nipped back to hit off stump before trapping Finn next ball with a delivery that kept low.
A poor batting display by the Panthers ended when Anthony Ireland was taken at long on with 19 balls of their innings unused.