Sussex are up and running in their Vitality Blast - after a dream return to action by Reece Topley.

The injury-troubled former Essex seamer took three wickets in four balls early on and came back to claim the last to fall as Sharks beat Hampshire by 14 runs.

Home form was a problem Sussex solved in the nick of time in last year’s run to the final.

This time they turned it on pretty much throughout to launch their 2019 campaign in some style.

The new signing toppled Aneurin Donald, James Vince and Sam Northeast in the space of four balls as Sussex defended a score of 188.

Having been clipped high past the old scoreboard for a huge six by Donald at the start of his second over, he replied in some style.

He had Donald leg-before, although the ball may well have been going over the top.

Topley then had the wafting Vince caught behind before clean bowling Northeast with the next delivery.

No wonder he was cheered all the way back to his spot in front of the packed Jointing Tech Stand.

Topley’s triple had Hampshire wobbling at 18-3 off three overs with three big guns back in the hutch.

The potential hat-trick ball, at the start of his next over, hit Rilee Roussow on the pad.

Roussow and Liam Dawson steadied things for Hampshire with a stand of 48 in six overs, holding firm as Tymal Mills clocked more than 90mph down the slope.

But Phil Salt, who had earlier scored 73, ended that with a brilliant catch running and diving in from the long-on rope to remove Dawson, and Hampshire were 77-4 at halfway.

Spinners Rashid Khan and Danny Briggs bagged a wicket apiece with Rossouw offering most resistance.

The Argus:

He had to go off for treatment after guiding a ramp shot into his own face off David Wiese but returned to threaten a matchwinning innings.

That was until he holed out to the safe hands of Khan for a 38-ball 60 looking to find the longest boundary.

Khan was equally assured to hold Abbott’s big hit and complete the win – and Topley’s four-for.

Sussex appear to be widely fancied to do well again this season after reaching last year’s final.

They probably won’t have Jofra Archer for the South Group, might see Alex Carey called away to the Ashes and were last night deprived of England’s Chris Jordan by a knee problem.

But the powerful top three of the batting line-up are still there.

Openers Luke Wright and Salt followed by Laurie Evans form a formidable trio.

After Sussex were put in, Salt and Wright took just a little time to get their timing right - even when the former pulled Kyle Abbott for the only four of the first two overs.

Salt added an involuntary edge high past the keeper off Chris Morris.

And then he was off - pulling the next ball for six and stepping back to cut over the off-side cordon.

Next ball - a classic straight drive all along the ground and Sharks were 33-0 off three overs.

Wright drove Dawson over mid-off to bring up Sharks’ 50 off ball 29.

The fun was interrupted in the sixth over as Wright top-edged a pull off Abbott to Morris at short third man.

Salt greeted Mason Crane with a huge driven six.

He should not have even faced that ball but Evans was gifted a four by a horrible misfield at the end of the previous over as he jogged through for a single.

A four pulled ferociously off Fuller took Salt to a 28-ball 50.

But there were boos when Evans met his curious end.

He survived a stumping attempt off Mason Crane but strayed out of his ground when keeper Lewis McManus appeared to throw the ball back to the bowler.

McManus had actually kept the ball in his glove and removed the bails.

Delray Rawlins came in and struck two drives off Crane, the first going for six and the second offering Fuller a running catch as Sharks reached 94-3 at halfway.

Salt had deposited a six to the longest boundary, over long-on to the north west corner of the ground, when he perished to a good fielding.

His miscued drive cleared extra cover but Vince was covering just behind him to hold on as he ran from mid-off.

Salt’s 73 came off 46 balls and included seven fours and three sixes.

That left Sussex on 129-4 going into the last six overs.

Wiese is a destructive hitter on his day, as Hampshire well know, but was initially controlled by good bowling.

Instead, Khan took up the attack.

He cut his first ball off Abbott for six, top-edged over the keeper for four, then added four and six before digging out a yorker off the last ball to run a single and keep the strike.

An excellent running catch by Rossouw ended that fun, Khan going for 22.

Wiese took 17 off the final over, delivered by Abbott, and Sussex had a score which looked par at worst.