Afridi burst puts Hampshire top
Hampshire 126 for 8 beat Sussex 91 by 35 runs
Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi was on song again as Hampshire surged to the top of the Friends Life t20 South Group with a 35-run win over Sussex at the Rose Bowl.
Afridi opened the innings and hit 29 off 17 balls as Hampshire mustered 126 for 8 in their 20 overs, then took three quick wickets as Sussex collapsed from a position of authority.
At one stage Sussex looked to be coasting at 52 for 1 in the seventh over, needing only another 75, but then collapsed against Afridi and Imran Tahir, the Pakistan-born South Africa spinner. Champions Hampshire seized on the breakthrough when Afridi had Lou Vincent caught in the deep at 52 and the rest followed, offering minimal resistance.
Sussex lost their last nine wickets for 39 as Hampshire raced to their seventh win in 10 fixtures, placing them two points clear of nearest challengers Somerset and Sussex.
When Hampshire batted they struggled against the spin of Monty Panesar and Ollie Rayner, with Afridi's innings, which included two fours and two sixes, making him top scorer. Umar Gul and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan also took two wickets each at the death as Hampshire struggled to put a decent score together.
Their cause looked lost despite Sussex losing opener Chris Nash at 20 but it all changed when Afridi came on to bowl. In his first over he dismissed Vincent and Luke Wright and Sussex never recovered.
Murray Goodwin went in the next over to a catch at the wicket off Tahir and Sussex could find no way out of their spiral. Afridi bowled Ben Brown in his next over, then Danny Briggs got rid of Rayner to make Sussex a perilous 65 for 6.
Tahir continued the Sussex destruction by dismissing Naved-ul-Hasan and Gul in the space of three deliveries in the 14th over and the match was over as a contest.
Chris Liddle and Andy Hodd kept flickering Sussex hopes alive with a stand of 18 for the ninth wicket but Dominic Cork came on for the 18th over and wrapped up the innings by sending back Liddle to a smart catch by Briggs and Panesar first ball to have Sussex all out for 91.
Hampshire's victory came with 13 balls to spare as Afridi finished with figures of three for 10 from three overs. Tahir took 3 for 13 from his four-over allotment.