May 6, 2001

Sussex victory based on all-round team effort

Sussex have all but guaranteed a place in the knockout stages of the Benson & Hedges Cup after easing to a five-wicket win over Kent at Hastings.

Seamer Mark Robinson took 4-29, his best figures in the competition, as Kent were bowled out for 174 before Sussex's middle order batsmen all made vital contributions to see their side home with ten balls to spare.

A desperately slow pitch yielded runs grudgingly and although Kent openers Matthew Fleming and Robert Key put on 43 in ten overs, the visitors lost wickets regularly after that with too many of their batsmen playing the wrong shots on the sluggish surface.

Matthew Walker, who scored a century against Essex earlier in the competition, held the innings together with 51 off 76 balls, but Robinson returned to take three wickets in nine deliveries as Kent lost their last five batsmen for 24 runs.

Sussex paced their run chase well, but there were some scares along the way. The departures of Richard Montgomerie and Murray Goodwin at 73-2 in the 27th over exposed an inexperienced middle order, but Bas Zuiderent (40) and Will House, who made 35 against his old club, produced the best batting of the day in a fifth-wicket stand of 61 in 13 overs.

Zuiderent was run out by Walker's direct hit from extra cover and House was bowled by Mark Ealham with 30 still needed, but Umer Rashid and Robin Martin-Jenkins chiselled out an unbroken partnership of 32 to see their side home, Martin-Jenkins winning the match with a six over square leg off David Masters.

James Kirtley, leading Sussex in the absence of the injured Chris Adams, praised his team's performance. He said: "We can't rely on the big guns because the big guns aren't playing at the moment, but we produced an excellent team performance and our middle order showed a lot of maturity when we had to chase a difficult target."