Nash outshines Panesar in narrow Sussex win
Sussex 110 for seven (Nash 45, Thornely 18, Afridi 3-18) beat Fly Emirates 103 for eight (Mohammad Iqbal 22, Nash 2-17, Panesar 1-14) by seven runs Scorecard
Monty Panesar bowled four tight overs on his competitive debut for his new county but was up-staged by fellow spinner Chris Nash as Sussex clinched a nervy seven-run success against the Fly Emirates part-timers in Dubai.
Defending a disappointing total on the opening day of the Emirates Airline Twenty20 festival , Sussex had Nash and Panesar to thank for avoiding the giant killing with tight spells on a crumbling surface at 7he Sevens stadium. Though the Emirates side made a decent start in their pursuit through Mohammad Iqbal (22) and Amjad Javed (16) the run rate started to creep up once Sussex captain Michael Yardy turned to spin.
"I really enjoyed it, we assessed the pitch quite quickly and bowled according to the conditions in front of us," Panesar said. "I got my lengths right, which made the sweep shot a dangerous stroke out there. I was given the one leg-before and might have had another, but overall I was happy with my first game for Sussex."
The key moment came in the ninth over of the pursuit when Sussex removed dangerman Shahid Afridi for 8. Chancing a tight second to Chris Liddle at deep point the Afridi comfortably lost the race back to the striker's end and his side's hopes of causing an upset went with him.
The Sussex innings had been anchored by Man-of-the-Match Nash who took an early view that "120 would be a top score on that pitch" and he was proved right. His top-score of 45 from 42 balls included only four fours but was to prove invaluable to the Sussex cause.
Only he and Michael Thornely (18) reached double figures and once Nash skied to fine leg the Sussex tail fell away badly as they lost their last six wickets for 32 in the last six overs of their innings.