Luke Wright has admitted to a degree of relief over another T20 last-eight place for Sussex.

The Sharks skipper has no doubts his side deserve to be in the Vitality Blast quarter-finals.

Sussex completed the job by winning at Kent on Sunday to secure third place in the ever-competitive South Group.

The section was made even tighter this year by the fact ten fixtures fell victim to the weather.

Sussex face the tough task of a quarter-final against Yorkshire in late August.

There will be frustration that they did not secure a home quarter-final, which was within their reach going into the final weekend.

But the key thing after a turbulent group stage is still to be involved.

Sussex have had several hurdles to overcome, starting when Wright himself missed the first two games due to a hand injury.

The skipper said: “I think relief is the feeling.

“There have been so many things thrown at us this season, so far.

“I thought the other night (in defeat at Hampshire) we’d get home, especially with a great score like that on the board, but to bowl like we did and come up against (James) Vince in the form he’s had was really disappointing.

“We knew we were going to come up a weakened Kent side but there are some really good players in there and they showed against Middlesex that they’re still a danger, so you’ve got to do a job and we did that today.”

Sussex ended the win at Canterbury still hoping they might have done enough to secure second spot.

Somerset, however, went on to complete the win they needed over Gloucestershire.

Sussex and Somerset each won two thirds of their completed fixtures.

That was slightly better than table-toppers Kent, who won 64%.

The obvious frustration for Sussex would be the point which got away at home to Surrey.

Had one more delivery been bowled before the sides went off for rain, Sharks would have won on Duckworth/Lewis.

Even that came down to interpretation of how DLS is used with its learned inventors suggesting Sussex should have been given the win anyway as they had passed their target for five overs even though only 4.5 overs had been delivered.

Sussex can also look back at defeats at the Ageas Bowl on Friday and the home reverse to Gloucestershire when they had seemed well set.

The group campaign will best be remembered for the emergence of Archie Lenham and the arrival of the real Ravi Bopara.

Spinner Lenham took ten wickets at an average to match his age – just 16 apiece – and maintained an economy rate of 7.71.


Bopara played a big part in home wins over Hampshire and Essex and his experience and know-how are just what are required in the knockout phase.

Wright said: “People forget we are not robots. He has moved from a club he has been at for 18 years, I think it was.

“He moved during Covid times. There is no one in the stands, there’s no atmosphere.

“It felt like pre-season games and it must have felt weird.

“I looked at him at times last year and, like he said himself, he felt a bit lost.

“It takes time for anyone to settle.

“I think it was nice for him to get 50 at Hove the other day and for everyone to see how good he is.

“Hearing the crowd sing his name helps as well and he is a fine player.

“He has played 370 games of T20, played all the way around the world and he has shown us this year how good he is.”

Wright was Sussex’s top run-scorer in the South Group with 306 at 43.71 and a scoring rate of 156 per 100 balls. Phil Salt scored 266 with an average of 38 and scoring rate of 152.

Bopara also averaged 38 as his 228 runs were scored at a rate 122 per 100 balls.

Sussex will hope to have Tymal Mills back from injury for the quarters while the unfortunate George Garton will hopefully not be isolating again.

Mills and David Wiese each took 11 wickets and Garton’s economy rate of 6.62 was the best by a Shark.