Shahid Afridi stars as Hants beat Sussex to go top again
|Friends Life t20, The Rose Bowl|
|Hampshire 126-8 (20 overs) beat Sussex 91 (17.5 overs) by 35 runs|
Shahid Afridi again played the starring role as Hampshire beat Sussex by 35 runs to return to the top of the table in the FL t20 South Group.
The holders looked suspect when they could only muster 126-8 at The Rose Bowl, Afridi top scoring with 29.
But, after looking well set at 52-1, Sussex surrendered feebly, losing their last nine wickets for 39 runs.
Afridi took a miserly 3-10 from his three overs as Sussex were bowled out for 91, with 13 balls unused.
When Hampshire batted, they struggled against the spin of Monty Panesar and Ollie Rayner, while Umar Gul and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan took two wickets each towards the end.
Sussex then looked to be coasting with only 75 needed and nine wickets still in hand in the seventh over, but Afridi triggered the collapse when he had Lou Vincent caught in the deep.
And the rest followed, offering minimal resistance against Afridi and Imran Tahir, the Pakistan-born South Africa spinner.
Afridi has now taken nine wickets in three Twenty20 matches for Hampshire, eight of them at The Rose Bowl, following his stunning home debut when he collected 5-20 in the rain-affected win over Gloucestershire on Friday night.
Hampshire's seventh win in 10 games places them two points clear of nearest South Group challengers Somerset and Sussex.
Hampshire manager Giles White told BBC Radio Solent:
"It was a good performance from the bowlers and the batters put in a decent score on that wicket.
"We probably didn't get as many as we would hoped for, but we knew if we got early wickets and got the spinners on, we'd have a chance.
"He (Shahid Afridi) did really well. He's an exciting player to watch and performed really well with the ball."