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Sussex title challenge gathers momentum
5:10pm Sunday 12th August 2012 in Cricket News
Sussex strengthened their challenge for LV County Championship honours after completing an eight-wicket win over Middlesex with four sessions to spare at Hove.
The hosts knocked off their victory target of 95 runs in 25.3 overs, after dismissing Middlesex for 211 in their second innings, A fourth successive home win has lifted them above Nottinghamshire into second place, 11 points behind leaders Warwickshire.
Warwickshire remain title favourites but they still have to play Nottinghamshire twice and Sussex are poised to cash in should the leaders falter.
The wicket continued to give plenty of assistance to bowlers prepared to bend their backs, with the ball lifting alarmingly on several occasions.
Middlesex's hopes of setting a bigger target had been undone by a hostile burst before lunch from Amjad Khan, who took three wickets to finish with eight wickets for 64 runs - his best match figures for Sussex.
Wicketkeeper Ben Brown's six catches in the innings equalled the county record and was the 11th time it had happened in Sussex's history. Ironically, Sussex's oldest surviving player Rupert Webb - who achieved it in 1955 and 1960 - was at the ground celebrating his 90th birthday.
Sussex lost opener Chris Nash in the fifth over of their victory chase but skipper Ed Joyce and Luke Wells teamed up to take them to within 27 runs of victory.
Although Joyce was superbly caught off his own bowling by Rayner, victory was wrapped up 15 minutes after tea as Murray Goodwin passed 22,000 career runs in his unbeaten 19.