LONDON, CMC – Barbadian fast-bowler Jofra Archer claimed a superb hat-trick to lead Sussex to a thrilling 12-run victory over Middlesex in the Vitality Blast South Group match at Lord’s on Thursday.
Chasing Sussex’s challenging score of 168 in 19.4 overs, Middlesex were limited to 156-7 at the end of their 20 overs.
Led by a superb knock of 90 off just 56 balls by captain Eoin Morgan, Middlesex had mounted a serious comeback and required 16 runs off Archer’s final over of the innings for victory.
After conceding four runs from his first two deliveries, Archer had Morgan caught in the deep for his highest ever T20 score as he attempted another big hit.
He then bowled John Simpson before completing his hat-trick by trapping James Fuller lbw.
Archer, who has played a handful of matches for the West Indies Under-19’s but is now seeking to play for England, finished with 3-25 from his four overs.
Earlier, Sussex had been given an electrifying start from opener Phil Smart, who smashed an even 50 from just 20 balls.
He set the tone by hitting successive sixes in the first over, bowled by Steven Finn, a long-hop pulled over square-leg, followed by one drilled over long-off.
He was ably assisted by debutant Delray Rawlins, who fell one run shy of a deserved half-century.
At one stage it looked as if Sussex’s highest score of 202 in the format at Lord’s five years ago might be under threat, but to their credit, a Middlesex attack pummelled for 229 by Somerset in their last outing fought back well.
In their reply, Middlesex made a poor start, losing dangerman Paul Stirling for a duck to the second ball of the innings.
When they lost Max Holden in the fifth over with the score on 25, Middlesex was in danger of folding early on.
However, Morgan smashed two sixes and five boundaries in counter-attacking innings and together with Nick Gubbins added 50 runs from just 30 balls.
Despite his efforts, Archer’s last over heroics ensured that Sussex would record their fourth victory of the campaign, while defeat for Middlesex left them struggling to qualify.