Arafat and Beer stun Durham
Sussex 288 for 7 (Arafat 55*, Beer 45*, Borthwick 3-51) beat Durham 287 for 8 (Collingwood 67, Borthwick 67, Stoneman 58, Arafat 3-47) by three wickets
Yasir Arafat led Sussex to a remarkable three-wicket win over Durham at Hove to boost their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Royal London Cup.
Sussex looked to be heading for their third defeat out of three when they were reduced to 191 for 7 in the 34th over, chasing 288. But Arafat had other ideas, leading his side home with 11 balls to spare with his first one-day half-century for two years and first in domestic cricket since 2004.
Will Beer aided him in an unbroken stand of 97 from 88 balls, a record for Sussex's eighth wicket in List A cricket, as the pair punished some wayward bowling by a Durham attack who probably felt they had done their job.
Arafat struck seven boundaries in his 55 off 54 balls and the contest ended in farcical fashion when John Hastings bowled two no balls and a wide at the start of the 49th over, gifting Sussex five of six runs they needed to win.
Beer provided excellent support with 45 from 50 deliveries - his highest score in List A cricket - to condemn Durham to their third defeat in four Group B games so far.
Durham will reflect how they lost after piling up 287 for 8 on a two-paced pitch on which batting first was a definite advantage with three of their batsmen making half-centuries.
Mark Stoneman and Phil Mustard gave Durham a solid platform with 76 in 16 overs, although Mustard was badly dropped at slip by Ed Joyce when he had made just 8. The stand ended in comical circumstances when Mustard, on 39, backed up too far and was run out.
Calum MacLeod was bowled around his legs by Beer but Stoneman completed his second successive competition 50 before he fell in the 31st over for 58 off 73 balls, caught off a mis-timed pull at left-armer Chris Liddle.
Scott Borthwick maintained the momentum, reaching his 50 with a pull for six off Liddle which sailed out of the ground and had 67 from 66 balls with six fours when Craig Cachopa took a well-judged catch running in from the mid-wicket boundary off Steffan Piolet.
Durham looked on course for a total of more than 300, but Sussex fought back in the closing overs, taking wickets regularly to stall their charge. Hastings was caught at deep cover and, after Paul Collingwood had scored 67 from 57 balls, he was yorked by Arafat having hit nine fours. Arafat also picked up the wickets of Gordon Muchall and Gareth Breese to finish with 3 for 47.
Sussex suffered an early blow in their reply when Chris Nash was bowled by a beauty from Graham Onions in the second over that beat him off the pitch and hit the top of off stump.
Luke Wright and Joyce put on 57 in nine overs but Wright was taken on the midwicket boundary to give Onions a second success and in the 15th over Joyce feathered an edge off Hastings.
Cachopa and Matt Machan kept Sussex above the rate with a fourth wicket stand of 55 in nine overs but Machan was surprised by Onions' short ball.
Borthwick picked up three wickets and seemed to put Durham in an impregnable position. Cachopa hit three sixes before holing out to deep cover then the legspinner bowled Piolet off his pads and beat Ben Brown's defences.
But Arafat and Beer refused to believe the match was over.