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11th August 2008

Durham Lose in Last Ball Thriller

The visitors needed only one run off three balls but Ollie Rayner had to scramble a single to mid-off from Callum Thorp’s final delivery to secure victory. Chasing a revised target of 224 in 38 overs after Durham made 221 for six in an innings which was twice interrupted by the weather, Sussex batted throughout in sunshine.

Matt Prior, acting captain in the absence through injury of Chris Adams, put Durham in and saw one of his rivals as England one-day wicketkeeper, Phil Mustard, hit 82 off 95 balls. But Prior, who also opened the innings, responded with 79 off 83 balls and Sussex seemed to be coasting to victory until Mustard stumped him.

Two run-outs swiftly followed and after Dwayne Smith sliced to backward point, the target had become 40 off five overs. At that point Rory Hamilton-Brown drove the first ball of Dale Benkenstein’s last over for six and a further nine runs followed to spoil the Durham captain’s figures. With pace proving ineffective on the placid pitch, he had brought himself on when Prior and Luke Wright were in command.

Their stand of 62 in nine overs ended when Benkenstein had Wright lbw, but Prior and Murray Goodwin still seemed to have everything under control until the captain’s exit sparked the late panic. The target was down to 15 off three overs when Hamilton-Brown became another unnecessary run-out victim after making 21 off 17 balls.

But Robin Martin-Jenkins kept a cool head to hit an unbeaten 11 after earlier bowling his eight overs straight through to take 2-22. Mark Davies performed a similar feat for Durham, but Liam Plunkett’s three overs for 37 proved very costly and the hosts did not have a spinner to match Rayner’s impressive control in taking 2-31.

He bowled Mustard and Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the 29th over after they had put on 97 in 14 overs, and the late onslaught Durham needed did not materialise.