Sussex have suffered their first home T20 defeat of the year.

But they remain well-placed to make the Vitality Blast quarter-finals.

Sharks went down by nine runs to Essex after their visitors set 168-5.

David Wiese provided the backbone of the run chase with 66 off 37 balls, including nine fours and two sixes.

The Argus:

But his departure in the 16th over left Sussex with too much to do.

Jason Gillespie has become an expert in spinning plates with his selection in both Championship and Blast this summer.

There have been absences for a range of reasons and three notable contributors had to be replaced last night.

Tymal Mills (injury) and Rashid Khan (international duty with Afghanistan) have gone for the season.

Delray Rawlins was also missing this time as he played for Bermuda.

The flipside was a debut for Jason Behrendorff but the Australia seamer found it quite tough going.

Will Beer was the pick of a Sussex attack which, understandably, looked less of a threat than in previous games.

The five wickets to fall comprised three catches in the deep and another at midwicket plus a run out.

Dan Lawrence and Ravi Bopara added 82 in 8.3 overs for the fifth wicket to offer a challenging target.

Given the powerplay to defend, Behrendorff’s first two overs from the Sea End went for 15.

He was hit for three fours in his first nine balls by Tom Westley after Essex were put in.

Reece Topley made the breakthrough in the fourth over when he induced a mistimed pull by Cameron Delport straight to Phil Salt at mid-wicket.

Behrendorff then switched to the Cromwell Road End and made his first impact, though not with his bowling as he ran out Adam Wheater.

Then, when Beer joined the attack, Behrendorff held a catch out on the long-off rope to send back Westley for 34 off 25 balls.

Essex were looking becalmed at 65-3 off ten overs but Dan Lawrence upped the tempo with two successive sixes lofted back over bowler Danny Briggs.

Beer, who did a solid job in the middle overs, was the beneficiary of more good handiwork in the deep as Salt held a steepler from Ryan ten Doeschate on the legside.

But Lawrence again went straight with two successive sixes, this time off David Wiese, on his way to a 29-ball 50.

Lawrence made his 59 not out from 43 balls and Bopara, who fell to a brilliant ankle-high catch by Chris Jordan in the final over, scored 45 off 24.

Chasing 169, Sussex hit early trouble. Salt lofted Mohammad Amir’s clever slower delivery to mid-on in the first over of the reply and Luke Wright later holed out on the legside rope (pictured).

The Argus:

When Bopara added a brilliant running catch behind point as Alex Carey looked to guide the nippy Aaron Beard over the top, Sussex were 25-3.

Wiese, though, lifted the crowd with four successive fours, either side of the wicket off Paul Walter.

The South African’s onslaught, which then brought a big legside six off Delport, put Sussex ahead of the clock and bought them some time.

Wiese and Laurie Evans added 65 in seven overs before the latter was unlucky to receive a full toss around waist height which he could only scoop to mid-off.

Harry Finch was unable to lift the gloom of his recent Championship form.

He ambitiously looked to reverse sweep Simon Harmer and fell lbw first ball when biding his time as foil for Wiese looked a more a shrewd option.

Sussex were 96-5 in the 12th over at that time.

Wiese’s carefully caressed late cut for four off Walter took him to a 26-ball 50 in suitably stylish manner.

He straight drove another six before Harmer struck the hammer blow of catching him lbw looking to sweep with 39 still needed.

That left Jordan as the key man and he holed out on the deep midwicket boundary off the first ball of the penultimate over with 21 still needed.