Jimmy Adams admitted Hampshire needed luck on their side as the weather saved them from almost certain Friends Life t20 defeat last night.
The Royals batsman could only watch on in awe as England Test star Matt Prior served up an explosive performance as he cracked 81 from just 37 balls as the Sharks tore into the home bowlers.
Prior smashed 11 fours and three sixes – before he holed out to James Vince in the deep – as Sussex reached 203 for five in the 18th over.
But with the Royals looking like they would have to chase a target of at least 220, the rain came and ended the contest – with both sides taking a point apiece.
While both teams will no doubt be frustrated by yet more miserable English weather in this washout of a summer, Hampshire knew deep down they had got out of jail to secure a place in the quarter-finals one game early.
Adams said: ‘We know we had a bit of luck with the rain. It would have been a very tough chase.
‘The weather gave us a big helping hand.
‘Overall, we’re frustrated because the weather has been a nightmare but we’re delighted we have qualified.’
Liam Dawson struck an early blow for the Royals as he bowled Chris Nash (10) in the first over.
But Prior and Luke Wright (38) then came together to put on a remarkable stand of 123 in less than nine overs.
Reaching 84 for one in just six overs, Vince and Glenn Maxwell combined to claim the wicket of Wright to finally break the partnership.
And although the run-rate slowed marginally, the Sharks looked well on course for a serious score before the rain intervened.
‘I thought they (Sussex) played brilliantly,’ said Adams.
‘Matt Prior’s innings was special. The partnership with Luke Wright was fantastic. They look a very strong side.
‘Sussex just kept coming at us. They were 84 from the powerplay which is some going.
‘Sometimes you get off to a great start and then consolidate a bit and then go again. But they just kept coming and coming.
‘They look a very strong batting line-up.’
Hampshire host Essex tomorrow knowing that a win will give them a chance of a home draw in the last eight.
But while they won’t fancy playing Sussex again on this evidence, Adams insists the Royals fear nobody.
He said: ‘When it gets down to the final stages, you have to beat the best sides.
‘We’ve got to get past Essex and a quarter-final first, though.
‘We saw last year that any team on any day can beat any other team.
‘Leicestershire were not the favourites for last year’s finals day and they ended up winning it.
‘The year we won it, we scraped through and then won three games on the trot to win.
‘But we’re delighted we’ve qualified.
‘Hopefully, we can now make it a home draw if we win tomorrow.
‘All we can do is go out there and try to win the game and see where that takes us.’