Sussex 116-5 (15.2 overs) v Surrey, match abandoned.

Luke Wright and Phil Salt hope to take the Vitality Blast by storm this year.

But Sussex are disappointed they will not have Laurie Evans coming in after them to help fire their title bid.

Salt and Wright offered a brief reminder of the scoring power they provide before rain cut short the Sharks’ opening fixture at home to Surrey.

Both got going for a side who have lost several players for assorted reasons ahead of this year’s competition.

Evans was the most recent after opting to bring forward his move to Surrey.

He has been playing across the border on loan in the Bob Willis Trophy but was originally due to return to Sussex colours for the Blast.

Although he popped in at Hove yesterday, he was not involved for either team in this match.

Sussex head coach Jason Gillespie is clearly not happy about it.

He said: “A week before the tournament starts, a player indicates they don’t wish to represent the club.

“Laurie has obviously signed with Surrey and we say well done to him on doing that.

“But he made it very clear to us he wanted to start his Surrey career straight away.

“We are pretty disappointed, particularly a week out from the T20 Blast and Laurie has been an integral member of our T20 side.

“I know Laurie has talked a lot about opportunity and a perceived lack of opportunities at Sussex, which is interesting for him to think that.

“I know he has been batting at three in T20 and getting more opportunities in the 50-over comp.

“He has also been given a lot of opportunities in four-day cricket and didn’t quite grab those opportunities when they were presented.

“It has been interesting to hear those comments but we wish Laurie all the best.

“I hope he has a really successful time at his new club.

“From our perspective, we see a really good opportunity to give someone else a chance to play.

“Harry Finch got an opportunity that otherwise may not have come his way.

“We just felt as a club if someone doesn’t really want to play for us, it gives us an opportunity to pick someone who is really keen to play.”

Wright, who had not played cricket for nine months, and Salt were certainly chomping at the bit.

The Argus:

The old firm up top will be key for Sussex but these days it seems nothing is as before.

How often has Salt been outscored 31-4 by any batting partner?

That was the case yesterday behind closed doors at Hove as Wright set the pace.

But he stepped up after Wright’s exit to fire two sixes and four fours off one James Taylor over.

Sussex’s hopes of a big total were undermined when Salt, Finch, Delray Rawlins and debutant Ravi Bopara went in quick succession.

Rain then fell for long enough and hard enough to bring an end to proceedings.

Salt, who is keeping wicket in this year’s T20, scored 44 from 22 balls.

Wright’s 31 took him 25 deliveries.

Gillespie said: “I thought they played the situation very well. Wrighty had a lot of the strike early.

“But what was pleasing after Wrighty was dismissed was that Phil really took that mantle and took that game on and I thought he batted really well.

“He was gutted to get out how he did but we have had a good chat and we take away from some learnings from our batting to apply that come Sunday.”

Wright, on 19, was caught at deep mid-on off the bowling of Matt Dunn but Salt quickly pointed out that Surrey had three fielders outside the circle rather than the permitted two.

Umpire Ian Gould agreed and ruled a no-ball.

Wright was out in the following over, though, chopping a delivery from Gus Atkinson on to his stumps looking to pull.

Salt took over for a while, his two sixes from Taylor coming high over mid-on and delighting a few supporters watching from nearby balconies.

But Sussex lost four for 12 in the space of 20 balls Finch skied left-arm spinner Daniel Moriarty to Rory Burns on the leg-side boundary, then Salt hit the last delivery of the tenth over flat to deep backward square-leg.

Rawlins was run out after he set off as the ball went past the keeper and could not recover his ground.

Two balls later, Bopara miscued his pull to midwicket for one.

Sussex try again when Hampshire visit tomorrow. David Wiese will be available as he exits quarantine following his return from South Africa.