Australian jet-setter stars on Sussex debut as Somerset are beaten in the Blast

Alex Carey on his Sussex debut / Picture by Getty Images
Alex Carey on his Sussex debut / Picture by Getty Images

Sussex continued their strong start to their Vitality T20 Blast campaign as they beat Somerset by 14 runs at Taunton.

A superb debut innings of 78 from Australian Alex Carey set up a total of 184 for eight before the Sharks bowlers backed this up with tight bowling as Sussex continued their unbeaten run.

Carey: "It was a crazy build-up to the game for me. Australia's Ashes camp in Hampshire did not end until Thursday night and on Friday I travelled to Sussex, but could only watch the game because I didn't have my visa stamped.

"To get that done, I had to fly to Geneva at 8 o'clock Saturday morning. I flew back last night and travelled to Taunton today. Although things did not work out for Australia in the World Cup, I really enjoyed the experience and have been loving my time in England. Today has built on that.

"We have batsmen who go hard from the start and when things don't work out, which is bound to happen sometimes, the middle order have to come in, absorb the pressure and build momentum back.

"Laurie Evans and David Wiese helped me do that today and then out bowlers did really well to restrict Somerset on a fast-scoring ground."

Sussex made two changes from their tie versus Surrey with Ashes squad member Jofra Archer making way for Ollie Robinson and Carey coming in Ben Brown. Somerset were unchanged with captain Lewis Gregory winning the toss and electing to bowl first.

Phil Salt departed off the second ball of the innings, caught by Gregory in the circle off Max Waller for four. Luke Wright and Laurie Evans consolidated things with a 28-run partnership.

Jerome Taylor made up for dropping Wright on 11 when he bowled the former England opener for 20, sending his off stump flying, leaving the Sharks at 32 for two. Carey joined Evans and he followed on from his stunning World Cup form with back-to-back boundaries off Roelof van der Merwe.

Despite some good hitting from Carey, Somerset continued to keep it tight as Sussex were 67 for two at the halfway stage.

Evans and Carey looked to push on with the latter taking a liking to van der Merwe as he smashed the Dutchman for two sixes in an over to bring up the 50-run stand between the pair. Evans joined in the act as the top run-scorer from the 2018 Blast hit Craig Overton for a six before hitting a four off Tom Lammonby.

However, Lammonby struck the next ball when Evans was caught at deep cover by Overton for 32 to halt Sussex’s progress. David Wiese joined Carey with the Aussie bringing up his 50 off just 30 balls the next over with a single off Waller.

Wiese got into action when he smashed Overton for three consecutive boundaries to give Sussex a platform for their last two overs. However, a late flurry of wickets prevented the Sharks from pushing on with Gregory picking up three in four balls, Carey departing first for 78 courtesy of a catch from Lammonby to end a brilliant debut innings.

Wiese fell the next ball for 26, caught by Babar Azam before Delray Rawlins was bowled for two. Ollie Robinson (2) and Rashid Khan (7) were both run out in the last over but some good hitting from the Afghanistan leg-spinner took Sussex to a total of 184 for eight.

Tom Banton and number one T20I batsman Babar Azam opened for Somerset with the pair putting on 96 for the first wicket. Sussex got the breakthrough they needed when Banton was out a ball after bringing up his half-century, caught at fine-leg by Tymal Mills off Robinson for 51.

Babar continued to push on as he went through to his fifty off just 32 balls before hitting three consecutive boundaries off Wiese. Despite this, Somerset needed a big effort from their batsmen, needing 41 from three overs.

Rashid bowled the 18th and he got the big wicket of Babar when was caught at long on by Salt as he departed for 83. Mills bowled the 19th and went for just ten runs and picked up the wicket of Gregory for six when he took out his leg stump.

Needing 23 from the last over, Reece Topley assured a win for Sussex with some tight bowling as he removed James Hildreth for three, caught by Rawlins in the deep before Trego was run out for 14 a ball later as the Sharks won by 14 runs.

THE TURNING POINT: Babar Azam was threatening to win the game for Somerset when Rashid Khan induced him to drive a catch to long-on off the fourth ball of the 18th over.

SHOT OF THE DAY: A towering six over long-on by the diminutive Azam off Danny Briggs from the first ball of the ninth over. The Pakistan batsman took steps down the pitch and played a classic shot.

UNSUNG HERO: Tymal Mills – Only one wicket for the pace bowler, but on a good batting wicket his economy rate of 6.75 was a key contribution for the Sharks.

WHAT’S NEXT: Somerset entertain Surrey under the Taunton floodlights next Friday eveing, while on the same night Sussex take on Kent at Hove.