SUSSEX lost a thrilling match at the 1st Central County Ground by one run to Kent to end their unbeaten start to the Vitality Blast.

Defeat also saw Sussex leapfrogged by their opponents Kent, who are now a point above them.

The Sharks named an unchanged side from the one that beat Middlesex on Tuesday at Lord’s and after winning the toss they decided to bowl first.

Kent skipper Daniel Bell-Drummond and England’s Zak Crawley opened the batting for the visitors, while George Garton opened the bowling for the Sharks. Crawley, who scored 267 for England just over two weeks ago in the third Test against Pakistan, survived an early scare when he was dropped by Delray Rawlins at deep square leg off the bowling of Ollie Robinson, with Kent 9-0.

Garton made the breakthrough for Sussex in the fifth over when Bell-Drummond lofted a shot to Danny Briggs in the inner circle and that left Kent 55-1. In the following over, Briggs then followed up that catch with a wicket in his first over as Heino Kuhn went for just four, after his rather tame reverse sweep was lofted at Tymal Mills in the inner circle and the score at 62-2.

Alex Blake then hit consecutive sixes off spinner Will Beer to leave Kent 95-2 at the halfway stage of their innings.

Crawley brought up his 50 not long after off just 37 balls.

Sussex then dropped another catch, this time it was Blake on 21 whose shot to the offside boundary was spilled by Robinson off the bowling of Garton. Crawley’s innings finally came to an end three overs after he had brought up his half century, as he was caught by Beer off the bowling of Mills for 67 and the score on 130-3.

Garton took his second wicket in his final getting Blake this time lbw for a 41 leaving Kent 124-4. Stewart followed not long after for 11 after Harry Finch caught him on the boundary off the bowling off Mills, to leave Kent 170-5.

Despite picking up the wicket Mills’s final over for 18 runs and finished with figures of 2-43 from his four overs.

Kent finished their innings on 195-5 thanks to an unbeaten 37 off 17 balls from Jack Leaning, which included four sixes.

That left the Sharks knowing they need 196 to win.

Sussex began their chase well and brought up 50 runs for no wicket off 3.3 overs with Salt hitting 28 and Wright having 17 to his name.

Salt departed two balls into the fourth over for 33 off 13 balls, after he was caught trying to go back down the ground by Imran Qayyum off the bowling of Fredrick Klaassen with Sussex 58 for 1.

Skipper Wright followed not long for 40 off 19 balls, which included eight fours, after being caught by Qayyum off the bowling of Groenewald leaving the Sharks 80 for 2.

Sussex were 110 for 2 at the halfway stage but after Harry Finch hit a six, he then played a poor shot and was bowled by Qayyum for 14, with the score at 116 for 3 and that saw David Wiese come to the crease.

Just as the Sharks got going, Rawlins departed for 30 off 22 after being caught by Bell- Drummond off the bowling of Qayyum.

Bopara survived a scare in the 15th over off the bowling of Blake when he miscued a shot in the air towards the legside, but it was dropped by number four.

Wiese started to really get going in the 16th over as he hit two fours and one massive six, which cleared the stand down at the sea end, to take him to 29 runs off 24 ball and Sussex just 25 off victory.

With Sussex scoring 9 off the 17th over they were left needed 20 runs from 12 balls.

Wiese had boasted an impressive record of not being bowled in his two games since returning, but that run came to an end with the last ball of the 18th over as he went for 38 off 30 bowling after hitting his shot to Kuhn on the boundary off the bowling of Matthew Milnes, meaning Sussex needed seven from the last over.

With Sussex needing two of the final two balls, Bopara was caught by wicketkeeper Jordan Cox off the bowling of Klassen, however the Sharks batsman was furious and he believed he missed the ball by a mile.

Ollie Robinson came to the crease to face the final ball of the innings with two still needed to win.

After what felt an eternity for the ball to be bowled Robinson was run out by Klassen after not getting hold of the delivery.

Sussex do not play in the Blast now until Thursday when they travel to the Ageas Bowl to take on Hampshire.

But before that they face Surrey in the Bob Willis Trophy at the Oval.