Sussex sneak rain-hit win after Taylor's romp
Sussex 242 for 5 (Taylor 93*) beat Gloucestershire 83 for 1 (Klinger 42*) by 1 run (D/L method)
Sussex Sharks kicked off their NatWest T20 Blast season with victory over Gloucestershire at the Brightside Ground, Bristol, by a single run on Duckworth Lewis.
Ross Taylor's unbeaten 93, off just 48 balls, helped Sussex to their highest ever T20 total, beating the 239 for 5 scored against Glamorgan in 2010.
However, the Sharks needed a little help from the rain to achieve their opening night success in the west country. Chasing 240 to win, Gloucestershire looked well on course to at least take the game to the wire when the rains came. It was an agonising end for the host county whose 83 for 1, off 7.3 overs, left them just one short of their required target on the D/L method.
Having been asked to bat first, Sussex made a decent first of things with the bat. Chris Nash and Phil Salt put the host county under genuine pressure with 48 for the first wicket inside five overs.
When Nash was eventually bowled by Craig Miles for 30, Salt and Ben Brown added 14 for the second wicket in quickfire time before the former was caught by Miles off former Sussex left arm spinner Tom Smith, for 24.
Salt's ill advised attempted reverse sweep, brought Taylor to the wicket and the Kiwi looked in decent touch from the first ball he faced. He and Brown added 88 for the third wicket inside eight overs with Taylor particularly harsh on anything full outside the off stump.
When Brown was stumped by Cameron Bancroft, off the bowling of Benny Howell in the 14th over, for 43, Sussex were 150 for 3 with Taylor having already passed his half century off 28 balls.
Gloucestershire found it difficult to defend the short boundary to one side of the Bristol wicket and with Taylor and Matt Machan increasing the run rate, Sussex piled on the agony in the closing overs.
Machan perished, in the 18th over, but not before hitting 31 off just a dozen deliveries. Wicket keeper Craig Cachopa was caught by Hamish Marshall off the bowling of Miles, for 0, with the bowler rounding off a decent spell of 2 for 29 from four overs.
Still, Taylor was not to be undone and with Payne going for 27 in one over, the New Zealander closed in on his century. Unfortunately, for him, he fell seven runs short. He struck just four fours in his stay at the crease, but helped himself to eight sixes.
The innings included six penalty runs for slow over rate. By the time the rains came later on, those runs would prove valuable, for Sussex.
Gloucestershire lost Hamish Marshall for 12 at 14 for 1 in the second over of their response before captain Michael Klinger and Ian Cockbain struck the ball with great accuracy, to all four corners. At one stage, they were ahead of the D/L rate and looked in a decent position to at least challenge for maximum spoils.
Sadly, for the home supporters, umpires Nick Cook and Rob Bailey took the sides off midway through the eighth over with Sussex ahead on the D/L method, by one run. With no further play possible, the victory points went back to Hove, if only just.