T20 Blast review: Sussex remain unbeaten, Somerset's Babar Azam in maiden century

Babar Azam acknowledges fans after hitting a maiden T20 Blast century for Somerset
Babar Azam acknowledges fans after hitting a maiden T20 Blast century for Somerset

A review of Friday's T20 Blast action, where rain affected play across the country...


Robinson stars as Sussex stay unbeaten

Unbeaten Sussex strengthened their grip on the Vitality Blast South Group after easing to a four-wicket win over Middlesex.

A sell-out 6,000 crowd at Hove saw third-placed Middlesex recover from 40 for five to 127 for six, with Ollie Robinson taking four for 15.

Despite losing two wickets in the powerplay, Sussex sealed their victory with 22 balls to spare. It was their sixth win in eight games, with one match washed out and the other tied, and means they have opened up a two-point lead at the top of the group.

Australian Alex Carey, who was dropped at third man by Tom Helm off Steven Finn on 20, top-scored with 32 while skipper Luke Wright and David Wiese both made 26, with Wiese smashing two leg-side sixes - one of which cleared the main scoreboard - off Finn. Delray Rawlins cleared the ropes off Helm to win the game.

Azam hits maiden blast century for Somerset

Babar Azam smashed his first Vitality Blast century to set up a crushing 63-run Duckworth-Lewis-Stern win for Somerset over Hampshire.

The Pakistan star is the leading run-scorer in this season's Blast with 425 runs, 99 more than nearest rival D'Arcy Short of Durham.

Azam recorded his highest T20 score as he made a remarkable 102 not out, which included seven fours and six maximums.

The victory puts Somerset above Hampshire into fifth in South Group to boost their hopes of a knockout place.

Gloucestershire edge out Surrey

Gloucestershire beat Surrey by nine runs under the Duckworth Lewis Stern method in the Vitality Blast after a rain delay left the home side needing to score 52 from 4.1 overs at the Oval.

Surrey managed 42 of them, taking their total of 52 for two from 7.5 overs in reply to Gloucestershire's 165 for eight when the rain came.

But when they were left needing 25 from the last over and the game was all but over. Surrey's final total was 94 for two.

Sam Curran swung Benny Howell for six and Andrew Tye for two more maximums in the final over to reach a defiant 51 not out from 35 balls, while Ollie Pope finished on an unbeaten 13.

But Howell, fellow medium-pacer Ryan Higgins and fast bowler Tye - who between them sent down the 25 balls after the restart - kept their cool despite understandably greasy conditions to earn Gloucestershire a third win of the T20 campaign and keep them in contention for quarter-final qualification from the south group.

Gloucestershire's 20-over total was built on a 15-ball 30 up front from Miles Hammond, James Bracey's 33 and 40 from Ian Cockbain in the middle overs, and then a useful 22 not out at the end by Jack Taylor, from 12 balls and with four well-struck fours.

Glamorgan and Essex thwarted by rain

Only four overs were possible at a soggy Sophia Gardens as Glamorgan's Vitality Blast clash with Essex ended with no result.

Despite the heavy rain that fell throughout the day, play began at 6.45pm and Essex were put in by Glamorgan.

They reached 30 for one, with Cameron Delport unhappy at being given out caught behind off Graham Wagg, before rain set in.

The weather did relent and after an inspection by the umpires at 8.00pm, they decided to restart at 8.25 for a game reduced to 11 overs a side - but another heavy shower shortly afterwards put paid to any hopes of a resumption.

Both teams gained a point apiece, with Glamorgan in bottom place without a win in the competition this season. They will hope for better weather next Friday when they play the return game at Chelmsford.

Rain ruins Roses clash

Lancashire and Yorkshire were left hugely frustrated as rain ruined their sold-out Vitality Blast Roses clash at Emirates Old Trafford.

Rain overnight and throughout the day, particularly early evening, in Manchester meant umpires Ian Gould and Jeremy Lloyds called the game off just before 7.30pm.

Both sides have now been left with three no-results from their eight North Group fixtures so far.

The frustration both sides felt was for completely different reasons.

For Lancashire, their chances of quarter-final qualification have not been harmed. They remain top of the table, unbeaten with five wins from eight.

But the fixture was due to be watched by a bumper 23,500 crowd which would have been a record for a Blast fixture, excluding Finals Day, outside of London. England star Jos Buttler was also due to parade the World Cup trophy at the mid-innings interval.

For Yorkshire, however, they desperately needed to play and win.

They have now won only one of their eight matches, losing three added to a tie and are out of the top four quarter-final qualifying places in the table.

Both counties have six fixtures remaining, starting on Sunday.

Lancashire travel to Edgbaston to tackle Birmingham Bears, while Yorkshire return home to Emerald Headingley to take on Derbyshire Falcons as part of a double-header with the Yorkshire Diamonds' Kia Women's Super League game against the Loughborough Lightning.

Outlaws defeat Bears in rain-hit match

Nottinghamshire Outlaws moved to second place in the Vitality Blast T20 North Group table after another commanding victory over Birmingham Bears.

The Outlaws won a rain-affected match at Edgbaston by 28 runs on the Duckworth Lewis Stern method.

Last week, they beat Birmingham at Trent Bridge and there only ever looked like being one winner in the West Midlands.

Nottingham are now four points behind leaders Lancashire Lightning.

Rain means Leicestershire and Northamptonshire get a point each

Rain meant Leicestershire and Northamptonshire had to settle for a point each from their Vitality Blast North Group match.

The Foxes had been seeking to stretch their recent run of form to four wins from five games, although the Steelbacks will feel they were in a strong position to thwart the hosts' ambitions after restricting the home side to 137 for nine.

Ben Sanderson took four wickets for 28 runs and fellow seamer Dwaine Pretorius three for 17, while Faheem Ashraf and off-spinner Josh Cobb each conceded fewer than five runs an over.

Trevaskis and Short shine

Liam Trevaskis and D'Arcy Short delivered match-winning performances as Durham edged out Derbyshire by seven runs in a rain-affected Vitality Blast North Group clash.

Short top scored with 68 from 48 balls, sharing an opening stand of 114 with Scott Steel (47) as Durham made 160 for five.

Spinner Trevaskis then turned the game with three for 16 and although Fynn Hudson-Prentice scored an unbeaten 31 from 24 balls, the hosts came up short on 153 for seven.

Durham looked set for a bigger total after Short and Steel gave them a solid base but the Falcons kept them in check in the closing overs through some disciplined bowling and keen fielding.

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