Michael Yardy helps Sussex start with victory
Sussex 155 for 7 beat Somerset 103 by 52 runs
Sussex made a successful start to their defence of the Twenty20 Cup with a convincing 52-run win over Somerset in front of a near full-house 7,000 crowd at Hove. Somerset, pre-season favourites to win the tournament, appeared to be in control when they restricted Sussex to 155 for 7, but the home side bowled and fielded superbly to dismiss Somerset for 103 in 17.1 overs.
Craig Kieswetter and Marcus Trescothick gave them a decent platform with a stand of 39 but after Trescothick failed to pick James Kirtley's slower ball and was caught at mid off, Somerset lost four top-order wickets for 14 runs in four overs.
Sussex skipper Mike Yardy, reprising the role he played so effectively in England's World Cup triumph, picked up Nick Compton and James Hildreth as both missed attempted sweeps while Ed Joyce pulled off an excellent catch on the third man boundary to intercept Zander de Bruyn's sliced drive.
Opener Kieswetter and Jos Buttler revived Somerset with a fifth-wicket stand of 33 in four overs but when Buttler was brilliantly run out from backward point by Joyce the Somerset reply went into a steep decline with their last six wickets falling for just 13 runs in 29 balls.
Kirtley picked up three for three in seven balls including Kieswetter, whose innings of 47 from 41 balls was ended by a superb running catch on the cover boundary by substitute fielder Ragheb Aga.
Earlier, Luke Wright and Murray Goodwin had given Sussex's innings the perfect platform with a stand of 58 in six overs for the first wicket. Wright hit 36 of his 39 runs from 19 balls in boundaries but Sussex lost wickets regularly after he sliced a drive to backward point.
Goodwin hit a run-a-ball 30 but accurate bowling from left-arm spinner Murali Kartik and De Bruyn stifled Sussex's momentum. Dwayne Smith, who scored 338 runs in last season's competition, was leg before on the walk first ball to Kartik and none of the Sussex middle order seemed to get to grips with a two-paced pitch.
But they were given some vital momentum at the end by Yasir Arafat, who later picked up two for nine from three overs, and wicketkeeper Andy Hodd who added 35 in the last three overs to give them something to defend.