Essex v Sussex: Luke Wright leads world-record run chase
|NatWest T20 Blast, Chelmsford|
|Sussex Sharks 226-3 (18.3 overs) beat Essex Eagles 225-3 (20 overs) by seven wickets|
Sussex pulled off a world-record run chase with nine balls to spare against T20 Blast South Group winners Essex.
Luke Wright smashed an unbeaten 153 - the fourth-highest ever T20 score - which included 12 fours and 11 sixes to see Sussex to 226-3.
The previous highest successful chase had been Cape Cobras' 224-5 against Titans in 2011.
Tom Westley's unbeaten 109 and Jesse Ryder's 75 had given Essex their second-highest ever T20 total of 225-3.
But their work was completely undone by Wright, who faced only 66 balls, and together with Matt Machan (41 not out) put on 159 for the fourth wicket at Chelmsford - the biggest partnership in Sussex's T20 history.
The remarkable innings was even in jeopardy before a ball had been bowled, as traffic problems meant Sussex were struggling to get to the game on time, with Wright going as far as to jokingly ask on Twitter: "Is there anyone around the Chelmsford area that would like to open the batting for Sussex tonight? Not moving in this traffic!"
|Successful leading run chases in world T20 cricket|
|Sussex 226-3 (18.3 overs) v Essex at Chelmsford - 25 July 2014|
|Cape Cobras 224-5 (19.4 overs) v Titans at Centurion - 9 March 2011|
|Somerset 220-4 (18.0 overs) v Hampshire at Taunton - 9 July 2010|
|Central Districts 220-4 (19.0 overs) v Otago at Dunedin - 27 January 2006|
|Rajasthan Royals 217-7 (19.5 overs) v Deccan Chargers at Hyderabad - 24 April 2008|
But they managed to get to the ground on time, and soon enough Essex got into their stride after being put in to bat, despite losing Mark Pettini to a Craig Cachopa run out off the fourth ball of the match.
That brought Westley to the crease, and he duly smashed his career-best score off 58 balls, including 12 fours and five sixes, and formed a 124-run partnership with New Zealand batsman Ryder.
Ryder was eventually caught by Machan off Chris Nash, whose figures of 1-34 were the best from the bowlers, and Ryan ten Doeschate made 30 to see the hosts to their mammoth score.
But England limited overs international Wright had other ideas, and created history with a show of T20 batting which is only rivalled by Chris Gayle's unbeaten 175, Brendon McCullum's unbeaten 158 and Aaron Finch's 156.
Wright was on the opposing side of Finch's innings for Australia against England at Southampton last summer, only making a two-ball four that day.
His innings on Friday could do nothing to help Sussex into the quarter-finals of the competition - as they were already unable to get through before the match - while Essex won the South Group by virtue of Surrey's defeat by Kent and will face Birmingham Bears in a home quarter-final.
Essex head coach Paul Grayson:
"All credit to Luke Wright, he played an amazing innings. I felt that Tom Westley and Jesse Ryder were outstanding with the bat for us but they've been outdone by Luke tonight.
"It was a brilliant wicket and we tried everything with the ball but he was brilliant."
Sussex batsman Luke Wright told BBC Sussex:
"It was just one of those nights, everything just seemed to come out of the middle.
"Walking off at half-time, I knew we just had a licence to go out and enjoy ourselves. We lost a couple and I thought it doesn't change my plans.
"I remember playing for England against South Africa and they scored 250-something and we got nowhere near that. It almost makes it more frustrating in a way to be out and be watching finals day, but we showed a lot of character tonight."
On traffic problems: "We honestly did [think we weren't going to get there] at one point. We left at one o'clock and gave ourselves loads of time, but we never seemed to move anywhere. So I asked if there was anyone in Chelmsford that wanted to open the batting to replace me, but luckily we got here in time."