Sussex v Gloucestershire, Flt20 Quarter-final, Hove July 24, 2012

Sublime Styris smashes Sussex through


Sussex 230 for 4 (Styris 100*, Prior 60) beat Gloucestershire 191 for 8 (Housego 47) by 39 runs

The recruitment of overseas players has been a critical aspect of producing success in county cricket since the beginning of the policy. Sussex recruited a Twenty20 specialist in Scott Styris and his blistering 37-ball hundred sent them to their third finals day.

By contrast Gloucestershire, whose signing of Ian Harvey helped them to dominate one-day cricket at the turn of the century, had ageing Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan bowling four overs in the middle of the innings and being a liability in the field. It was his missed run out of Styris when in single figures that proved tremendously costly.

An almighty mix up produced the chance for Muralitharan to take the throw from short fine-leg two yards from the stumps and remove the bails - as he had done in his previous over to run out Matt Prior. But Muralitharan attempted a throw at the stumps, missed, and the Styris rampage began.

It was exactly the innings one expects from a marquee signing and the type of innings that Styris himself admitted was the overseas player's responsibility to play. He did not shy away from his duty. It was fantastic hitting. Such clean ball-striking. The joint-third highest T20 hundred taking only 37 balls.

Styris kicked into gear in the final six overs - all of which went for double figures. Those overs had followed a period during which Gloucestershire's two spinners, Muralitharan and especially Ed Young, bowled well and forced the batsman to work them around - from the end of the Powerplay until the 14th over only three boundaries were scored.

But once the seamers, who, despite an excellent start with two quick wickets had conceded 67 in the Powerplay, returned, it was back to a boundary fest. A match-changing 115 runs came off the final six overs and Styris was responsible for most of it. Nine sixes he struck, the best of them played with a clean face down the ground.

Most of the run scoring was accountable for in T20 cricket but the 18th over from James Fuller was totally inexplicable. Just when Gloucestershire had a chance to build on the work of their spinners, they were taken out of the game. Fuller has the tools - a solid action and pace - to become a fine bowler but his character will be severely tested after this humiliation.

He began with a beamer that went for six no-balls. Then overstepped bowling a yorker which was edged for four to fine leg. The free hit was a full toss which went over square leg - that brought up Styris' 50 from 24 balls. Another full toss followed: another six, this time down the ground, before a back of a length ball was carved fine of third man for four more.

Mercifully for Fuller a dot ball relieved the carnage but there was more to come. A top-edged pull went to fine leg for four and then, as the Sussex fans pointed their thumbs down for the kill, Styris smashed another six over long on. 38 had come off the over - the most runs in an over in professional cricket.

The final two overs went for 14 and 19 but seemed run-of-the-mill after Fuller's annihilation. It completed Sussex's sixth score above 200 this season. It was also the highest score in the competition this year.

It was hard to reflect on anything but Styris' second T20 hundred, reached in the final over with the help of two more sixes. But there were other demonstrations of the batting talent that has made Sussex so successful this season. Some of it was provided by Matt Prior - again demonstrating his one-day credentials - with his own brutal innings. He made 60 in 38 balls having gone hell for leather to recover Sussex's terrible start.

They were 7 for 2 after two overs but Prior swung at almost every ball, blasting Gloucestershire's young seamers all around the park, playing two deliciously timed sweeps over midwicket, to ensure the momentum was regained and the Powerplay maximised - they made 67 for 2: 60 from four overs. And they had the perfect foil for the hitters: Goodwin, who made a completely overshadowed 55.

Gloucestershire were in a hopeless position trying to chase such a score. They do hold the world-record for the highest T20 domestic total but that was made last year with a Kevin O'Brien hundred. This year they lack a major hitter and as useful as the cameos from Hamish Marshall, Dan Housego and Alex Gidman were for an ordinary innings, it was not the freakish batting that was needed.

Styris also took a wicket and a run out to conclude an evening that had the Sussex management patting their backs on a rather good recruitment decision.

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • MAUSAM on July 27, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    He began with a beamer that went for six no-balls....HOW this happens...? means the ball pitched it so hard that it crossed the boundry ?how ?

  • Kamani on July 26, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer - I remember someone hitting 20 off 1 ball in the BBL.

  • Chris on July 26, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    @sania The first ball went for 4 byes + 2 for no ball, so 6 in total. You get 2 for a no ball in this T20 comp. Over was 4byes(no ball) 4(no ball) 6 6 4 0 4 6, 38 total, 30 to Styris, 8 extras.

  • Udara on July 26, 2012, 3:27 GMT

    Is this credible reporting about a quarter final of FL T20. The writer starts his 3 paragraphs by critisizing Muralidharan for being a liability in the field and missing a run-out. It's weird..... and still Muralidharan is the most economical bowler for Gloucestershire for this match...

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2012, 22:44 GMT

    Hi Sania, In T20 you get two for no-balls, so it was two for the beamer plus the boundary four, hence six no balls. Alex

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    Well Done Scott Styris. And he achieved this on the same ground where Eddie Paynter made his mammoth 322. What a great day that was and I was there to watch it back in 1938 i think it was.

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2012, 22:26 GMT

    The beginning of this article is way too harsh on Muralitharan. He had the most economical bowling figures, and if it weren't for bad bowling by the others (Remember a lad named Fuller, anyone?), Gloucestershire might have been able to restrict Sussex to a lower score. Liability in the field, Muralitharan may be, but he is still better than any other spinner still playing the game.

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    Bit harsh that Gloucs were out of their depth. 1 fantastic over changed the game, & was the difference in the end result.

  • Sugumar on July 25, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    In the 38 run over how the first ball will be 6 no ball. it should have to be 6+1 runs or if it is 5+1 then next should be faced by other batsman clarify? Sugu

  • Matt on July 25, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    Brilliant to watch but sums up the Sussex approach which has been positive all year. I was amazed when Nick Knight after the game suggested that Sussex had only qualified due to home form. They have destroyed all opposition when they have played (except for Surrey which was a 5 over farce) home and away. As for the guy who thinks Murali is always one of the best fielders...errr no he isn't. Brilliant bowler but cost Glos dearly yesterday with the run out miss as well as at least two other boundaries through misfielding.

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