Prior proves a point
Prior shows his limited-over skills with big-hitting Sussex knock
Last Updated: 08/07/11 10:51pm
Prior: Shows T20 form
Matt Prior showed his Twenty20 credentials with his match-winning 89 the key to Sussex securing a 15-run victory over Kent in the Friends Life t20.
Prior has been usurped as England's wicketkeeper in both 50 and 20 over internationals, but his 59-ball innings showed him at his explosive best at Canterbury.
The Sharks win, masterminded by Prior's knock of nine fours and a brace of sixes, severely dented Spitfires' hopes of reaching the quarter finals while bolstering Sussex's chances of qualifying for the knock-out stages.
Prior featured in stand worth 47 with Ed Joyce and then 69 in 8.1 overs with Ben Brown (20), after visiting skipper Michael Yardy won the toss and elected to bat first in front of a St Lawrence crowd of 3,500.
The hard-hitting right-hander might have gone with his score on 34 and then on 61 after miscuing on drives against the bowling of Darren Stevens, yet both times the fielder failed to make the catch after losing the flight of the ball in the setting sun.
Lack of support
Other than Brown, no-one gave Prior the support he deserved and wickets continued to tumble at the other end with Wahab Riaz bagging 3-22, which included the scalp of Lou Vincent for six to a stunning catch one-handed and high to his right by another former England keeper, Geraint Jones.
Charl Langeveldt chipped in with 2-32, including Prior's wicket to a miscued catch at backward point by home skipper Rob Key and Kent went into the interval seemingly delighted to have restricted the Sharks to 159-6.
Chasing a victory target at the rate of eight an over, Kent lost Joe Denly in the second over leg before after missing an attempted reverse sweep against off-spinner Ollie Rayner.
Key heaved across the line of a good length ball from Umar Gul to have his middle stump pegged back, then Azhar Mahmood dawdled a single to backward square only to be run out by Gul's direct hit that made it 44-3.
With rain starting to fall Kent's mood darkened when Sam Northeast (seven) chipped tamely to mid-on, then Alex Blake haplessly steered a simple catch to backward point.
The Spitfires' victory hopes now lay squarely on the shoulders of experienced seventh-wicket partners Stevens and Jones.
Stevens flailed his way to a 36-ball 50 with four fours and two sixes, but with his score on six Jones sliced a drive against Gul to Brown at deep cover and at 118-6 home hopes were as good as dashed.
In his next over Gul yorked Riaz to finish with 3-26, then rookie Sam Billings spooned a leading edge to cover off the bowling of Nash. That left Stevens and James Tredwell to score 30 off the remaining two overs - a task that proved well beyond them.