T20 Blast roundup: Essex move top of South Group with win over Sussex Sharks

Mark Pettini of Essex Eagles hits the ball towarfds the boundary during the Natwest T20 Blast Quarter Final match between Essex Eagles and Birmingham Bears at Ford County Ground on August 2, 2014
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Sports Mole rounds up the latest action from the Natwest T20 blast matches from across the country.

Essex Eagles have moved top of the Natwest T20 Blast South Group courtesy of a seven-wicket win over Sussex Sharks at Hove.

The home side had a bright start to the match as Chris Nash and Luke Wright found the boundary with regularity before both fell to leave their side 52-2.

Mahela Jayawardene showed his class at the crease as he made a half-century, but his teammates failed to support his efforts as only one other player reached double figures leaving the home side with 140 in their 20 overs.

Mark Pettini and Tom Westley played composed knocks to guide Essex to victory as they put on a partnership of 99 before Ravi Bopara and Nick Browne got their side over the line.

Saeed Ajmal took 3-16 in his four overs to help the Worcestershire Rapids defeat the Durham Jets by three runs in their clash at the Riverside.

Moeen Ali made a brisk 26 before he was dismissed by Chris Rushworth, but half-centuries from Daryl Mitchell and Tom Kohler-Cadmore moved the Rapids to a total of 159.

Durham skipper Mark Stoneman got his team off to a fast start but he fell for 35. An innings of 43 from Phil Mustard kept the home side up with the rate, but Ajmal put the clamps on the batsman to guide his team to victory, despite the best efforts of Gordon Muchall (41*).

Birmingham Bears put the pressure on Durham at the top of the North division as they moved level on points with the Jets following their seven-wicket win over the Nottinghamshire Outlaws via the Duckworth-Lewis method.

Riki Wessels was the only bright spot of the Outlaws' innings as he made 39 from 19 deliveries, although James Taylor (23) and Darren Sammy (23) also contributed to push their side to 149-9 from their 20 overs.

A rain delay reduced the target of victory to 98 for the Bears, and an innings of 38 from Ian Bell and an unbeaten 37 from William Porterfield was enough to earn the win.

James Vince hit an unbeaten 99 to guide the Hampshire Hawks to a six-wicket victory over the Kent Spitfires at Canterbury.

Sam Northeast shone for the home side as he blasted 54 off just 33 balls, while Alex Blake (49*) added late runs to see the Spitfires post an imposing total of 183-5.

However, Vince smashed five sixes and eight fours in his innings and was supported by Sean Ervine (37), who hit three sixes of his own, to reach the victory target with 13 balls to spare.

Glamorgan defeated Gloucestershire by 19 runs as Jacques Rudolph's unbeaten century proved to be decisive in guiding his side to victory.

The South African hit his ton off 70 deliveries and was supported by decent knocks from Craig Meschede, Colin Ingram and Chris Cooke to set the home side 192 to win.

Michael Klinger responded with a century of his own as he blasted 10 fours and three sixes to reach the milestone, but only two other players made double figures to leave the hosts 20 runs short of their target.

An unbeaten innings of 94 from Steven Croft was crucial in guiding the Lancashire Lightning to a 67-run win over the Derbyshire Falcons.

Croft hit nine boundaries and two sixes, while James Faulkner also took the attack to the Falcons with an unbeaten knock of 47 off just 30 balls as the home side posted 201-3 in their 20 overs.

Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chesney Hughes blasted early runs, but both players departed without passing 50, while Stephen Parry wrapped up the innings with figures of 4-16.

The match between the Northamptonshire Steelbacks and the Leicestershire Foxes ended without a result as rain ended the game in the home side's reply at Grace Road.

Meanwhile, the match between Somerset and Surrey was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Results in full:
Glamorgan 191-3 beat Gloucestershire 172-6 by 19 runs
No result between Northamptonshire Steelbacks and Leicestershire Foxes
No result between Somerset and Surrey
Lancashire Lightning 201-3 beat Derbyshire Falcons 134 ao by 67 runs
Worcestershire Rapids 159-5 beat Durham Jets 156-7 by three runs
Hampshire Hawks 187-4 beat Kent Spitfires 183-5 by six wickets
Birmingham Bears 101-3 beat Nottinghamshire Outlaws 149-9 by seven wickets by D/L method
Essex Eagles 144-3 beat Sussex Sharks 140-9 by seven wickets

England's Jos Buttler in action during 4th Natwest Series One Day International against Australia on September 14, 2013
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