The final day of Pro40 action provided thrilling action at both ends of the table and one of the finest one-day innings of the season as Sussex took the title and Lancashire were relegated
Murray Goodwin hit the final ball of a gripping winner-takes-all clash at Trent Bridge for six to give Sussex the Pro40 title with a stunning two-wicket victory against Nottinghamshire. Sussex appeared dead and buried on 130 for 8, but Goodwin found an outstanding partner in Mohammad Sami, who did more than his fair share with 32 off 25 balls. Goodwin, though, was a class above and showed once again why he is one of the best finishers in the game.
"I was just trying to hang in there and was lucky enough that things went for me," Goodwin told Sky Sports. "I honestly didn't think we were going to win it. But I kept on telling Mohammad to hit it hard and in the gaps - and he kept on doing it."
Despite Sussex's collapse from 87 for 2 - against some sharp spin from Graeme Swann and Samit Patel - Goodwin never panicked. He picked off boundaries through his favoured leg side and brought the equation down to 16 from the last over. Charlie Shreck was the man given the ball and the pressure got to him as he struggled to find yorkers. Sami edged a four to third man and, although the final equation was four from the last ball, three would have been enough for Sussex, who just needed a tie. Goodwin ended all debate with a handsome six over long-on, raising his arms in triumph at the end of one of the more memorable domestic one-day innings.
This defeat will be hard to swallow for Nottinghamshire, who controlled large periods of the match. Patel, who had a fine game, made a calmly crafted 78 to lift them to 226 for 7 and then shared six wickets with Swann. Chris Adams, who announced he will stand down as captain at the end of the season, and Dwayne Smith were bowled by deliveries that turned square from Swann. However, Nottinghamshire lost form at the wrong time - this was their fourth defeat in five - and Goodwin peaked at the right time. Sussex still have a chance in the Championship, but this was a fine send-off for Adams.
The outcome at the other end of the table was almost as tight as Somerset clung onto their Division One status with a three-wicket win against Lancashire at Liverpool, sending the home side down. It was a low-scoring affair and the deciding innings came from Carl Gazzard, who was standing in for the injured Craig Kieswetter. He hit 30 off 34 balls, adding 36 for the eighth wicket with Alfonso Thomas, as Somerset reached their target with two balls to spare. Lancashire did well to post 156 after being 75 for 7 with Glen Chapple hitting 33 and Gary Keedy 23 to give them something to defend. Chapple removed Marcus Trescothick early and wickets fell regularly, but Somerset had just enough left to squeeze them over the line and they'll stay in the top flight for the final season of Pro40.
Worcestershire will face a play-off against Glamorgan to stay in Division One after a late collapse gave Middlesex an 11-run victory at Kidderminster in Graeme Hick's last home one-day game. Ben Smith appeared to be guiding them to their target with 107 - adding 100 with Daryl Mitchell - but when he was run out the last five wickets fell for one run in seven balls. Middlesex were already relegated yet finished on a high as their death bowling, so impressive during the Twenty20, came good. Middlesex's total of 253 for 6 was built around a 99 from Ed Joyce, who is still weighing his future at the club, as he formed an opening stand of 107 with Billy Godleman. Eoin Morgan hit effectively towards the end, but the match appeared to be slipping away until the late twist.
Durham ensured their place in next season's top division with a five-wicket win against Gloucestershire at Chester-le-Street. Michael Di Venuto guided the chase with an unbeaten 52 after the top order slipped to 29 for 4 on a bowler-dominated afternoon. Di Venuto added 41 with Dale Benkenstein and a match-sealing, unbroken 50 with Gareth Breese. Earlier, Steve Harmison had been the catalyst as Durham dismantled the visitors for 119. They were handily placed on 63 for 1 when Harmison removed Kadeer Ali, Will Porterfield and David Brown, while Alex Gidman was run out by Will Smith from cover. Harmison ended with 3 for 32 while Breese bagged three cheap scalps against the tail.