Sussex v Surrey, NatWest T20 Blast, South Division, Hove May 16, 2014

Arafat pulls off last-ball win

Bruce Talbot

Sussex 172 for 8 (Wright 56, Hamilton-Brown 30) beat Surrey 171 for 7 (Roy 57, Wilson 50, Zaidi 3-32) by two wickets

Yasir Arafat was signed by Sussex for the third time to bring his considerable T20 experience to an attack that struggled last season. But his first dividend came in the form an unlikely cameo with the bat that saw him strike the last two balls for four to secure a breathless two-wicket victory for his side.

Sussex needed 16 off the last over and it all seemed to be going to plan for Surrey when Jade Dernbach conceded a single off the first delivery and then had Chris Jordan caught in the deep.

But Ben Brown sliced the third ball high over the extra-cover boundary for six then took a single and left the rest to Arafat. His first ball perfectly dissected the two boundary runners on the off side and the final delivery whizzed past Gary Wilson's despairing dive off a thick edge and down the slope to the third-man rope.

Sussex covet wins over their oldest rivals more than most so the celebrations that followed, as his team-mates ran from the dug out to engulf Arafat, were perhaps understandable.

On a two-paced pitch Surrey must have felt their score of 171 for 7 was defendable. But both attacks struggled for control at times. This was their first competitive run out with the white ball and at times the quicker bowlers in particular looked rusty while Dernbach's struggles at the end revived painful memories of his woes during the T20 World Cup.

Jason Roy (57 off 43 balls) and Gary Wilson (50 off 39) played well after they had got the measure of the conditions before Azhar Mahmood provided acceleration in that uncomplicated way of his at the end with 23 from 12 deliveries. For Sussex, Ashar Zaidi - whose most recent experience of this format was midweek hit and giggle for Accrington last summer - recovered from a poor first over to take 3 for 32 as bowlers who took the pace off prospered.

Matt Prior revealed earlier that he hopes to make his comeback in the Championship game against Middlesex on May 26, although he said it was too early in his recovery from an Achilles injury to say if he will be able to keep wicket as well.

In his absence Sussex are heavily reliant on Luke Wright's uncomplicated hitting and when he and Rory Hamilton-Brown added 55 in 38 balls for the third wicket they were in control. But debutant Tom Curran surprised Wright (56 off 31) with a change of pace before Kevin O'Brien picked up two wickets off successive balls in the 14th over to put Surrey in charge.

The hosts were further inconvenienced when Chris Nash needed a runner after hurting his hamstring but the mood of the crowd improved when, just as they had done in the first innings, umpires Ian Gould and Steve O'Shaughnessy penalised the fielding team with six runs for a slow over rate. Still, Dernbach would have fancied himself to defend 16 off the last over.

By the end the crowd had come to life but on the night T20 was re-launched amidst mch hype there was the sense at Hove that very little had changed.

On a warm late-Spring evening Sussex would have been disappointed had they not attracted the 5,000 who turned up. The ground was pleasantly full and the bars were doing a steady trade but apart from bursts of flames from on top of the scoreboard every time a boundary was scored it didn't feel much like a brave new beginning for a format which has always been popular in Sussex.

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  • Dummy4 on May 17, 2014, 14:25 GMT

    Surrey had four minutes added for Nash injury and two for the lost ball and so only have themselves to blame for not bowling the overs in time. Do O'Brien, Kapil and Curran need such whacking great run ups if they are going to bowl medium pace? Too much time also spent by Smith faffing about with field placings. The same could be accused of Joyce.

  • Thomas on May 17, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    Such an exciting game, came across brilliantly over the radio, really enjoyable. I just wish there was some kind of terrestial tv coverage, even if it was highlights on Channel 5. Something to give it more exposure, the only way to follow the game was basically Sky and BBC local radio. The IPL has a larger television reach in the UK than the Blast, and that's a shame.

    @Fleshpony From what I could tell, the longest delay around that time was Chris Nash's cramp/hamstring. Regardless, they'd run out of time quite a bit before starting the 19th over, and that's the way the rules work. Especially with late starts, umpires tend to apply said rules quite rigidly in a futile attempt to avoid finishing late. Both teams got hit this time, which makes it a bit fairer.

  • Dummy4 on May 17, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    "Dernbach Falters" (The tag line for this piece on the main page of Crinfo) suggests that he has been having a good run of form and has come unstuck very recently. This is the polar opposite of what has happened. "Dernbach continues to be unreliable and expensive - as he has for years" How on earth this bloke still has an England place is beyond me. Whenever he came on to bowl in the T20 and Carribean it was time to leave the room, safe in the knowledge he'd go for 10 an over.

  • w on May 17, 2014, 11:27 GMT

    Can anyone explain why Surrey had 6 runs awarded agianst them fora slow over rate when over 5 mins were spent looking for the ball in the car park. Surely this time should have been added back?

  • Mark on May 17, 2014, 11:03 GMT

    @liaqathussain If Ajmal Shahzad can produce a couple more games like his last game for Notts, he'll be right in the reckoning. That was him best pretty close to his best.

  • david on May 17, 2014, 10:56 GMT

    i dont like dernbach so let get that out of the way 1st of all. but when you bowl the last over you are going to get spanked, more times than not. i watched Dale Steyn hit for 23 in his last over in the IPL, so if he can beh it for similar totals.then for Dernbach it can be expected

  • liaqat on May 17, 2014, 10:44 GMT

    Well done Arafat, And Jade has done what his done all his life, leak runs,

    The likes of Ajmal Shehzad should be brought back in to the England fold in place of Jade,

  • Chris on May 17, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    Come on Cod and Chips; Jade's just trying to show he can do for Surrey what he's been doing for England.

  • Mark on May 17, 2014, 8:40 GMT

    @Codandchips My guess would be disappointment. Three years ago he was getting close to a Test call. Right now not everyone is happy to see him picked ahead of Tim Linley in the Championship.

    Sadly, Jade Dernbach has gone backwards a lot. I admit that I last saw him live in 2011 and that from side on but, at the time, he had quite a reputation as an upcoming quick. Surrey are having a lot of problems with promising young players who either never develop, or have to move counties to reach their potential. Unfortunately, it's not a new problem for them (for Tim Murtagh, a few years back, read Chris Jordan now).

    They have gone through two seasons of youngsters, a season of Dad's Army and now youngsters again and various coaches. The side is back where it was in 2010 for squad development. Right now they just need a steady policy for a few years and some stability. I am just not confident that they will get it.

  • Paul on May 17, 2014, 8:01 GMT

    Yasir Arafat did something a bit similar for Somerset at home to Gloucs in July last year. Came to the crease needing three to win off two balls and sent his first delivery from David Payne to the boundary.

    Similar rapturous scenes.

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