T20 Blast: South Div Review
Kevin Pietersen's Surrey beat Glamorgan but he once again struggled to make an impact in Friday's NatWest T20 Blast South Group encounter at the Swalec Stadium.
Pietersen contributed just one run before being dismissed on the fifth ball he faced, edging Dean Cosker behind to wicketkeeper Mark Wallace.
It was the third match in this competition for the former England batsman, with the previous two having seen him post five and then not even get to crease.
His team-mate Hashim Amla had a far more constructive time in the middle, striking 55 as Surrey made a total of 165-5, and although Jim Allenby (52) replied with a half-century of his own, Glamorgan fell short with 148-8, Tom Curran and Jade Dernbach taking three and two wickets respectively.
The win saw Surrey leapfrog Glamorgan into third place.
Second-placed Hampshire just about saw out victory, emerging with a two-run triumph from their home clash with Gloucestershire.
After Jimmy Adams' 69 not out had sent Hampshire on their way to 180 for six, Will Smith did considerable damage with the ball with three wickets and the away side were left needing 20 from the final over to win.
Tom Smith (30 not out) proceeded to smash three fours in a row to get the nerves going. Top-scorer Benny Howell was then run out on 50 and after the concluding delivery Gloucestershire had got to 178-8.
Sussex Sharks ended a run of five successive defeats with a comfortable 35-run victory over Kent Spitfires at Canterbury.
Luke Wright batted through the Sussex innings to make 85 from 61 deliveries in a total of 149-8 and Kent were never in the hunt, losing wickets regularly as they were bowled out for 114 in the penultimate over of their reply.
Batsmen on both sides found timing their shots tough on a painfully slow pitch so Wright's knock proved especially valuable.
The 29-year-old passed 4,000 runs in T20 cricket when he reached seven and he went to his 25th career T20 half-century with a six off left-arm seamer Adam Ball.
But even Wright was subdued by the surface, hitting just seven boundaries and another six, off Mitch Claydon, before he holed out to deep extra cover off the last ball of the innings.
Wright believes the victory can give Sussex a much-needed boost for the second half of their campaign.
"It's been a while since we won but T20 is a competition where you can get momentum quickly and hopefully this will give us that," he said.
"It was a hard wicket to bat on because the ball wasn't coming on at all so I was pleased to bat through and give us something we felt we could defend."
Tim Phillips emerged as the Essex hero as they marched towards the quarter-finals of the competition with a thrilling two-wicket victory over Middlesex.
When Phillips walked to the wicket after James Foster was dismissed by Gurjit Sandhu with the first ball of the 17th over, South Group leaders Essex were still 41 runs short of their target.
However, he rose to the occasion with an unbeaten 33 from 13 deliveries including a four and four sixes - the last of which sealed victory with two balls remaining when he despatched Sandhu over the fine leg fence to delight a capacity Chelmsford crowd.
Essex needed 13 for victory from the final over but Phillips smashed the 22-year-old bowler for another huge six, after also dealing out similar punishment to James Harris, as the visitors had victory snatched from their grasp.