James Kirtley praised Sussex’s batters after a T20 run feast – but said his bowlers would be “bitterly disappointed”.

Australian all-rounder Daniel Sams thrashed his maiden Vitality Blast half-century to guide Essex Eagles to their highest-ever total in the tournament and a third win in four games.

Sams hammered 71 from just 24 deliveries, including six sixes and as many fours, as Essex racked up 244-7 at Chelmsford after being put in to bat.

Mohammad Rizwan blazed 66 from 32 to keep the Sharks’ hopes alive before former Essex star Ravi Bopara bludgeoned a valiant 51 from 26.

But it was not enough as he perished to Sams in the final over and Sussex fell just short on 233-6, the match aggregate of 477 setting a Blast record.

Sussex have now lost four in a row as they prepare to visit Glamorgan tomorrow.


Sharks coach Kirtley said: “It was a fantastic effort from the lads to try and chase that down. We got 90-odd in the first six, there’s no reason we couldn’t get 70 or 80 in the last six, but it was too many runs.

“We knew it was a good pitch and you could chase a big total but 12 an over is a hard ask at the best of times and it’s almost worse to get that close, in a way.

“The batters showed what they can do and there were lots of good innings amongst that but ultimately we didn’t bowl well enough. We lost control with the ball.

“When you concede 240-odd runs, you’d expect better from that attack and they’ll be bitterly disappointed. We haven’t been able to dovetail the batting and the bowling together that much during this campaign.”