Sussex have been urged to keep their focus after their increasingly troubled season suffered another setback.

Sharks were limited to just 103-9 in their 20 overs chasing 167 to beat Middlesex at Lord’s in the Vitality Blast.

In reality they were just batting out time and trying to limit the run-rate damage in the later stages of their innings.

The contest was pretty much over when Ravi Bopara was sixth man out with just 59 on the board in the 11th over.

Sussex’s Blast campaign looked like it would ignite their season after some tough weeks battling against the odds in the Championship.

Instead, momentum has been halted by a series of rain-offs, the contentious no-result at home to Surrey and a poor performance at home to Gloucestershire.

They have been further hit by a groin injury for Chris Jordan, an England squad call for George Garton (which is great news but doesn't help the strength of the county line-up) and self-isolation for eight senior players, three of whom may well have played last night.

In recent weeks they have also seen very different but equally troubling setbacks for both Jofra Archer and Ollie Robinson.

It feels like the world is against them at the moment.

Sussex contributed to their own woes as big players were unable to provide the performances required with the bat.

They must lift themselves quickly as they visit Glamorgan in Cardiff tonight.

Sharks coach James Kirtley said: “It wasn’t the result we came here to get.

“We probably weren’t quite as aggressive as we have been in certain parts of the game but I thought we showed real character with the ball.

“At the halfway stage of their innings they were probably lining up 190-200 and I thought we were really smart in the second half.

“Credit to Middlesex, the openers played really well up front, especially Eskinazi who’s continued his good form.

“Batting-wise, we never got going. It sounds like an excuse but we are a little bit rusty.

“It’s just that instinctive game play we’re lacking at the minute.

“There’s lots going on, whether it’s been the Covid bits, whether it’s been call-ups or the weather, but our challenge is to remain focused.”

Sussex did well to peg back their hosts after an ominous start as Tymal Mills took 2-31 and Mitch Claydon 1-31, each from four overs.

Archie Lenham recorded 1-15 from two overs and took a fine catch.

Middlesex were 115-2 off 12 overs as Steve Eskinazi plundered 59 from 35 balls.

Sussex lost wickets early in reply with only Travis Head (23 off 25) getting a start before he played on.

Debut-making former academy batsman Harrison Ward played a couple of very nice shots in his 22 off 19 with the contest all but over.

For Middlesex, Nathan Sowter produced his best Blast figures of the season with 3-13 while teenage seamer Blake Cullen returned a career-best 3-21