Skipper Ravi Bopara expertly guided Sussex to victory in a last-over thriller at Hove tonight.

The county beat previously undefeated Middlesex by five wickets with three balls to spare in the Vitality Blast.

It was their third win in a row and further boosts hopes of another quarter-final berth.

Sharks required ten off the last over, delivered by Martin Andersson.

Harrison Ward drove a single before Bopara deposited a huge six over the long-on boundary, taking him to 50 in the process.

A glance away down the leg side for four off the next delivery sealed the deal.

Bopara finished on 54 from 36 balls at the end of a long and eventful evening.

Middlesex were bowled out for 163, which represented an excellent Sussex comeback given they were 101-2 off ten overs.

The hosts held some good catches, three of them by Delray Rawlins in the deep, and were also sharp on the ground.


Obed McCoy followed his debut five-for at Somerset with 4-30 to peg back an innings built on Joe Cracknell’s 69 from 49 balls.

Middlesex opener Steve Eskinazi scored 31 off 18 balls and Steven Finn took 3-29 from four overs in his first appearance against his old club.

Finn’s first ball of the night was driven by Max Holden straight to Ali Orr, who held the catch low down at cover.

Tymal Mills’ opening over, the fourth of the innings, cost 19 including four byes and Middlesex raced to 71 by the end of the powerplay, the last ball of which saw Eskinazi edge Finn to debut-making Sussex keeper Tim Seifert.

That left Cracknell as the real driver of the innings while partners came and went.

Archie Lenham helped apply the brakes for Sussex.

And Luke Wright produced the catch of the night as he dived to his right to clutch a fabulous right-handed effort at short third and dismiss John Simpson off Finn.

Cracknell’s 50 came off 33 balls.

His last scoring shot was a six clipped over Finn at deep square off Mills.

But he then skyed a drive off the same bowler, who held the catch.

Chris Green’s 22 not out off 11 balls offered late resistance from Middlesex.

A rain delay left Sussex being set 146 to win off 17 overs and they suffered an early setback as Wright pulled the first ball of the second over to the waiting hands of Green at deep mid-wicket off Toby Roland-Jones.

In-form Tom Alsop fell in similar fashion, but at deep point, after T20 debutant Orr had guided a couple of fours but then been bowled.

Sussex were 37-3 in the fifth over and behind on DLS when Bopara went to the crease.

But Seifert pulled spinner Kyle Hollman for six to open the seventh over and Bopara followed with two fours.

Andersson pinned Seifert lbw for 35 with a yorker, leaving Ward to join Bopara for the final push.

Ward hit Roland-Jones for a straight six in a 15th over which went for 15.

Sussex needed 16 to win from the last two overs but spinner Green went for just six in the 16th to leave the hosts with work still to do in a tense finale.