Sussex 91 for 6 beat Somerset 90 by four wickets
Sussex Sharks offspinner Ollie Rayner took 5 for 18, the third best Twenty20 bowling figures in the county's history, to help them move into second place in the Friends Life t20 South Group after a four-wicket win over Somerset at Hove on Tuesday night.
Rayner owed his place to the absence of skipper Mike Yardy, who is taking a break as he continues to battle with depression. He had only taken nine wickets in 17 previous Twenty20 games but he bulldozed Somerset's top order, twice taking two wickets in an over. They were the second-best figures in the competition this season, behind only team-mate Rana Naved-ul-Hasan's 5 for 17 against Essex.
Rayner opened the bowling and his fourth ball was swept into the pavilion by Marcus Trescothick for six. But he snared the Somerset captain when he returned to the attack in the seventh over courtesy of a superbly judged catch by Luke Wright at long-off. Trescothick top scored with 33 off 23 balls, with three sixes and two fours, and his departure sparked a horrible collapse which saw six wickets fall for 14 runs in 26 balls.
James Hildreth was caught behind trying to angle his first ball off the face and in his next over Rayner had Roloef van der Merwe caught on the boundary off a slog-sweep. Left-hander Arul Suppiah was stumped coming down the track to a delivery which turned sharply and Rayner had his fifth wicket with a return catch off Jos Buttler's mis-timed drive.
Sussex's seamers backed up Rayner despite losing South African Wayne Parnell to a hamstring injury early on. Left-armer Chris Liddle started with a maiden and then had Craig Kieswetter caught off a skier before Peter Trego was caught behind for a second-ball duck later in the fourth over.
The last three wickets added 34 runs to give their total a semblance of respectability, with Rana taking his competition aggregate to 11 wickets with 2 for 14 at the end as Somerset were dismissed in 17.2 overs.
Sussex found it just as hard to score quickly on a two-paced pitch. Chris Nash and Joe Gatting fell to the new ball and the in-form Luke Wright was superbly caught behind by Kieswetter off Gemaal Hussain to leave the Sharks 23 for 3.
But skipper Murray Goodwin used all his experience to see his side to victory, adding 32 with Lou Vincent (16) and 22 for the fifth wicket with Andrew Hodd before the latter was magnificently caught by Van der Merwe.
Goodwin was eventually caught behind in the 17th over for 27, trying to cut Van der Merwe, but Sussex only needed five runs to win and Rayner fittingly sealed it with a boundary to get his side home with 15 balls to spare.