Sussex 200 for 6 (Jordan 45*) beat Essex 176 for 8 (Lawrence 36, Mustafizur 4-23) by 24 runs
Bangladesh pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman starred with four wickets for 23 after only arriving in this country on Wednesday, while Chris Jordan made amends for running out in-form New Zealander Ross Taylor with a match-winning 45 off 21 balls that contained five mighty sixes, to give Sussex only their second NatWest T20 Blast win in eight games.
Mustafizur, whose arrival at the club had been delayed by visa issues, instantly impressed his new club with a match-sealing display.
"It has taken some hard work to get Rahman here, and a lot of people have worked hard to make it happen. Now we can see why he was worth so much time and effort," said Sussex's captain, Luke Wright. "He is a very special bowler. He has put in a performance straight away that was very special to watch.
"It is so hard to pick what he is going to do. In the warm-up we were trying to work him out and we couldn't. Credit to our keeper Craig Cachopa who kept really well to him tonight - it is not easy when you've had no time to watch him before or to have faced him.
"He got a flight yesterday so he's come straight in and bowled like that. We have a very special talent on our hands."
Chasing 201 to win, Essex were ahead of Sussex's comparative totals until the last four overs, and they had no one capable of matching Jordan's late fireworks. Essex, losing for the second game in a row, finished 25 runs short thanks to the wiles of 20-year-old Mustafizur.
Sussex had started well enough with fifty coming off the six powerplay overs. Chris Nash needed little help but received a dollop when Tom Westley's shy from deep point missed the stumps, bounced up awkwardly off a matted wicket, wrong-footing Ryan ten Doeschate, and eluding two more fielders as it sped away for a five.
Nash, who had hit Paul Walter for two successive fours through the off-side in the first over, was first to go when he scooped Matt Quinn into Browne's hands at midwicket for a 16-ball 25.
Luke Wright had just got into his stride when he was out. The Sussex captain nudged Lawrence almost out of James Foster's hands for four and then cleared Westley on the long-on boundary for six. He tried again next ball but the ball dropped short and Westley took the catch diving forward. Wright's frustration at going for 32 was palpable.
Ashar Zaidi's first two overs had gone for just 10, but the spinner's third went for a match-changing 28 as Phil Salt got his measure. Salt moved from 12 to 33 in the space of a seven-ball over with two sixes over the offside boundary, plus two fours in the same area, before Taylor clubbed another maximum from the final ball.
But Zaidi extracted a measure of revenge when he took the catch at short third man, two balls into the next over from Ravi Bopara, that saw the back of Salt for 33 from 19 balls. Bopara also stemmed the flood of runs with just two conceded from his second over.
Bopara claimed his second victim when Westley took another catch on the long-leg rope to dismiss Matt Machan before Sussex lost Taylor, who went for a quick single from the non-striker's end to Callum Taylor at midwicket only to find Jordan immovable.
Jordan thumped a six to cow corner off Walter and then two more hooked and pulled off Bopara to give Sussex's innings late momentum. Craig Cachopa also hammered Walter for six and had helped put on fifty for the sixth wicket in three and a half overs before he was pinned lbw by Graham Napier for 18. Jordan, though, kept going and belted two more sixes from Napier's over.
Essex's reply got off to a bad start when Browne top-edged Tymal Mills to Rahman at fine leg in the second over before Lawrence and Westley set about righting the ship. They had the fifty up in the fifth over with Lawrence depositing Jofra Archer over long on and Westley taking two boundaries in three balls off Mills.
The second-wicket partnership was worth 47 in little more than five overs when Archer trapped Westley lbw.
Lawrence landed a second six over long-on off spinner Will Beer. But he was third man out, having just past his previous highest T20 score, when he played all around a delivery from Beer and was lbw for 36 from 26 balls.
Zaidi had started slowly, but clobbered Beer through midwicket for four and then lofted him for six slightly squarer on the leg-side. But the former Sussex player was controversially run out for 18 when he appeared to be obstructed by the bowler Mills as he turned for a second run. The two players collided, Zaidi looking as if he barged into the fielder, and after a short debate the umpires upheld their decision.
Bopara followed, hitting high but not too far as Wright pouched the catch at mid-on to give Mustafizur a first wicket. Crucially, that 16th over only went for two runs and Essex were still 66 from their target. Mustafizur took two wickets in three balls when he rearranged the stumps of James Foster and Callum Taylor, and then had ten Doeschate caught by Mills at backward point.