Middlesex win despite rain
Middlesex won for only the second time in the Royal London Cup despite rain ruining their run chase against Sussex in the Group B encounter at Hove.
Chasing 249, Middlesex were 81 for one in the 18th over when the rain arrived and umpires Martin Saggers and George Sharp abandoned play at 8.40pm with Middlesex winning by 21 runs under the Duckworth/Lewis method.
It was only their second win in the last 12 List A meetings between the teams at Hove. Mindful of the forecast, openers Chris Rogers and Dawid Malan adopted a risk-free approach to the reply and had added 70 for the first wicket when Malan was caught behind off Steffan Piolet for 33, trying to run the ball to third man with an open face.
Paul Stirling was dropped on one by Will Beer when he drove powerfully to point off Piolet while Rogers was undefeated on 34 when the heavens opened.
It was a frustrating night for Sussex who were looking to build on back-to-back wins earlier in the week and lift themselves into contention for a top-four finish.
On a used pitch they had the benefit of winning the toss and were in a strong position with 18 overs to go at 174 for three with Craig Cachopa and Matt Machan having added 52 for the fourth wicket.
But the innings went into a tailspin after Cachopa (24) was caught behind driving at Malan's off breaks. Seven wickets fell in the next 15 overs for 50 runs and it needed some boisterous hitting by Piolet and Lewis Hatchett for the last wicket to take them to 248 for nine.
Sussex lost the in-form Luke Wright early in their reply, the first of four victims for Toby Roland-Jones, but Chris Nash and Ed Joyce added 102 in 20 overs with Nash reaching his first 50 in the competition this season. He went to 65 (69 balls) with his third six, a pull over mid-wicket off Neil Dexter, but perished to the next ball attempting to repeat the shot.
Joyce lost his off stump to off-spinner Ollie Rayner in the 23rd over but Sussex rebuilt after the loss of those two wickets in four balls through Cachopa and Machan.
Malan dropped a difficult return catch offered by Cachopa on 23 although it did not prove expensive. He added just a single when he drove expansively at Malan and was caught behind.
Machan (40) batted sensibly with the lower order until he was seventh out, well caught one-handed at short mid-wicket by Rayner while Roland-Jones picked up three wickets in an impressive second spell as Yasir Arafat, Beer and Chris Liddle were all bowled, the latter two off successive deliveries.
The seamer finished with four for 42 and there were still 26 balls left when last man Hatchett joined Piolet to add 24 with Piolet, on his 26th birthday, unbeaten on 33 from 45 balls with five fours.