Friends Life t20 quarter-final: Sussex (230-4) beat Gloucestershire (191-8)
HAMISH MARSHALL said he was proud of the progress Gloucestershire made in the Friends Life t20 this season after a destructive ton by Scott Styris brought their run to an end in the quarter-final at Sussex on Tuesday.
Styris, a former New Zealand team-mate of Marshall, smashed an unbeaten 100 from 37 balls – the third fastest century in t20 history – to take Sussex to 230-4 and Gloucestershire fell 39 runs short, despite a valiant effort from their batsmen that kept them in an absorbing contest until the last few overs.
Marshall took over the captaincy from Alex Gidman in this year’s competition and was still able to reflect on a good campaign after leading Gloucestershire out of the group stages for the first time in five years.
He said: “I’m proud of the lads for the way they’ve played in t20, but Scotty obviously pulled out a magnificent performance to halt our tournament.
“I’ve seen it before from Scotty and he’s a class player.”
Gloucestershire made a dream start when Chris Nash lofted the ball up to Marshall off Saxelby and James Fuller made an instinctive one-handed catch off his own bowling to remove Luke Wright and reduce the hosts to 3-2.
However, they let the hosts off the hook and Matt Prior, released by England after playing in the Test match against South Africa, launched a stunning counter-attack with 60 from 38 balls in a partnership of 98 with Murray Goodwin before he was run out by Ed Young.
Enter Styris, who blitzed Gloucestershire’s bowling to all parts with five fours and nine sixes, three of which came off an over by Fuller, which went for 38 – the most expensive in the history of the game.
Muttiah Muralitharan had already completed his four overs in his last game in county cricket before Styris’ assault got into full swing, conceding just 25 off his four overs.
Young also bowled a tight spell of 0-26, but the pace bowlers went around the park, with Norwell finishing on 1-49 after taking the wicket of Goodwin (55) with the final ball and Fuller finishing on 1-57 – both from three overs.
Styris then opened the bowling and soon removed Benny Howell (8), but Marshall and Dan Housego added 63 before the skipper was caught behind off Amjad Khan.
Housego showed off his repertoire of shots with an impressive 47 off 24 balls, before Will Beer put the brakes on by bowling him and Ian Cockbain (7).
Gidman and Fuller then threatened to pull off an amazing victory in a quick 62-run stand.
Gidman hit three sixes in his 44 from 22 balls, but with Gloucestershire still requiring 53 from four overs he and Young (1) were caught out of their ground when going for risky runs.
Fuller hit two sixes and two fours in his 26 off 12 balls before he was bowled by Khan and Gloucestershire finished on 191-8 after Saxelby was caught by Beer off Chris Liddle in the final over.