Chris Jordan played a crucial role with both bat and ball as Sussex Sharks kept up the pressure at the top of Group A with a hard-earned 20-run win over Kent Spitfires in the Yorkshire Bank 40 at Horsham.
Sussex's total of 222-9 looked like being overhauled when Darren Stevens made his way towards the only half-century of a low-scoring contest.
But Jordan, who has already made important tail-end runs for Sussex, returned to the attack to have Stevens caught in the covers for 51 off 41 balls, including four sixes.
Jordan then had Ben Harmison held by Luke Wright, who leapt above his head to take a one-handed catch at short third man, doing well to cling onto the ball as he fell to the turf.
Harmison made 44 and his departure left Kent's tail with too much to do.
They were bowled out for 202 in the final over when Mark Davies, who had batted despite suffering from a torn bicep in his left shoulder, lost his middle stump to James Anyon with four balls remaining.
Jordan bowled with real venom on a slow pitch to take 2-36 but his 37 off 26 balls at the end of the Sussex innings was arguably more important to his side.
Last man Chris Liddle put on 34 after an inconsistent batting performance by the home side. Four of their top five batsmen got past 30 but the top score was Mike Yardy's 42 as Kent's attack stuck to their task on a two-paced pitch despite losing Davies halfway through his sixth over.
Wright (30) threatened to cut loose in his first appearance of the season for Sussex - following a stint in the Indian Premier League - finding four boundaries and a six to add 63 with Chris Nash for the first wicket.
But Wright got a leading edge to mid-on and Luke Wells fell to the next delivery, going leg before wicket to Kent skipper James Tredwell.
Nash (30) got out when chipping a catch to mid-on and the most productive stand of the innings saw Rory Hamilton-Brown and Yardy add 55 from 47 balls for the fourth wicket.
Hamilton-Brown (40) looked capable of dominating the Kent attack only to be run out by Stevens while Yardy was bowled by Tredwell to give the England spinner his 200th one-day wicket.
Sussex's lower-middle order failed and it was left to Jordan and Liddle to give their side hope.
Adam Ball was Kent's best bowler with 3-36 but his figures were spoiled when his last over disappeared for 18 including a pulled six by Jordan, who also struck four boundaries.