Tymal Mills believes Sussex are good enough to beat anybody in the Vitality Blast.

Especially as two world stars return for the last six group games.

They might need to go on that sort of unstoppable run if they are to rescue their T20 campaign and – is it too much to suggest? – their county’s season as a whole.

The white-ball squad are facing an uphill battle to reach the quarter-finals, which is probably the minimum requirement for the season, after a calamitous home defeat by Gloucestershire on Friday night.

That is not ideal but what is really stinging is the manner of defeat when they looked set to canter home and overhaul their opponents in the South Group.

Needing 29 to win off 38 balls with two wickets down, Sussex got the gameplan all wrong and threw the game away amid a bewildering array of attempted big shots.

Credit, of course, to Gloucestershire for the way they exploited their hosts’ technical and tactical weaknesses.

Eight wickets fell for 23 and the game was up when Steven Finn, looking to end it in one big hit, sent a steepling chance which a delighted James Bracey held on the run.

By that stage, it was possible to understand the highly experienced Finn looking to go big.

Not so with many of the similar shots attempted in the overs before that when Sussex surely needed to push the ball around and complete the job.

Skipper Ravi Bopara told Sky Sports said it was one of the worst performances he had seen in his 400 or so T20 matches.

Bopara, from experience with Essex and a late-season run in 2019 which started at Hove, will know a side can go on a charge, squeeze through and hit the knockout phase with real momentum.

Sussex did something similar a year earlier when a better, deeper side than they have now probably should have won the trophy rather than lose the final to Worcestershire.

But such a possibility felt a long way off as the dust settled on a third successive defeat on Friday night.

The vastly-experienced Mills, going in to bat as high at No.8 given the structure of the Sussex line-up, said: “It’s a very disappointing loss.

“We should win that game ten times out of ten, really.

“At half-time we came off with a total we were happy chasing.

“Then the way the first ten or 12 overs went, I thought Tommy Alsop batted beautifully.

“But we have got to see that game out. It hurts.”

Sussex lost Alsop and his support act Fynn Hudson-Prentice to a pair of stumpings in the space of three balls.

A hiccup – but not one which should have led to total chaos.

Mills said nerves were not setting in that stage.

He added: “I think we were confident.

“You assume someone is going to take ownership of that.

“Even us guys down the order, myself included, could have made a bot of better fist of it.

“In Twenty20, you should not be losing eight for 23.

“It’s unacceptable really, especially on a decent wicket, under lights with the ball skidding on.”

In isolation, it was a shocking manner of defeat.

But there is a back story to all this of more than a year without a win in the Championship and the loss of senior players.

Attendances have been disappointing this season for whatever reason but all tickets were sold on Friday.


It feels, fairly or not, that the T20 side have to give Sussex something to cheer in the present while a very young side plays in the Championship.

The shortest format played by Sussex is supposed to offer some light relief, not show the county up.

A Friday night win over Middlesex was a lift and at that point it felt like Sussex were on a charge after a slow start with two defeats.

Since then, they have lost three in a row.

Defeat at Hampshire the night after that physical and emotional high versus Middlesex was perhaps understandable.

So was the reverse at all-star Surrey, although it hurt Sussex fans to see three of their former players, led by Chris Jordan, having such fun at their expense.

So excusable defeats – but Sussex should certainly have pushed the two victors harder than they did.

Then Gloucestershire arrived the night after a late one of their own, as they let slip a winning position against Somerset, and were on the ropes in both innings but still won.

That Sussex week – Friday night to Friday night - shows how things can change so quickly.

But the cave-in was alarming and came at a time when there are doubts over the route in which the club – in tough post-lockdown days, of course – is moving.

Former Argus cricket writer, and now freelance, Bruce Talbot offered his own summing up via Twitter soon after the game.

Having quietly observed the unfolding debacle from the front row of the media centre, he tweeted: “I’ve been covering Sussex for 30-plus years and I’m struggling to think of anything as bad as than that collapse tonight. Inexplicable that they could lose 8/23 in six overs on a good pitch. Hopefully this is as bad as it gets but I fear it’s not.”

Mills believes they can still compete, especially with two stars set to come in through what has been a revolving door of overseas players.

He said: “With the team we have, we are capable of beating any team. We are not a bad team.

“We have got the best player in the world, in Rashid Khan, and one of the best keeper-batters in the world in Mohammad Rizwan, coming back for the remaining group games.

“We get stronger, which is always helpful.

“I have no doubt we can win six from six.

“It’s just applying ourselves and identifying situations a little bit better.

“To a man we could all do more.

“I think it is important to debrief it.

“I think everybody in that changing room will know what was a poor seven or eight overs there at the end.

“It is pretty self-explanatory.

“I don’t think you have to get too into it.

“As long as all the boys know in their heart of hearts that’s unacceptable batting towards the end, hopefully we will bounce back next week at Essex.”

Mills believes four wins from six is the minimum requirement from a run-in which starts at Chelmsford on Friday and includes home games against Surrey, Essex and Hampshire.

The section is so tight it is hard to work out exactly what will be needed, although run-rate is costing Sussex a point.

The first requirement will be to regain pride and showing some of reaction to a night of high promise which turned into embarrassment.