Reece Topley haunts Hampshire with devastating burst for Sussex Sharks in Vitality Blast win at Hove
Reece Topley haunted Hampshire with three wickets in four balls to earn Sussex Sharks a Vitality Blast victory at Hove on Wednesday night.
The hosts clinched a 15-run victory over the Ageas Bowl outfit, who are without a win from their opening three south group fixtures.
Topley, who left Hampshire at the end of last season, laid waste to his old side’s top order with his first T20 wickets since 2017.
The left-armer removed Aneurin Donald (13), James Vince and Sam Northeast (both ducks) in a sensational second over.
Topley, who endured an injured-plagued spell at the Ageas Bowl, then returned to end Hampshire’s brave pursuit of a target of 189 when he had Kyle Abbott caught in the deep off the final ball of the 19th over.
The former Essex and England man finished with figures of four for 33.
It was a special moment for the 25-year-old, who made 16 white-ball appearances for England between 2015-16 before his career was badly disrupted by injuries, including five stress fractures in his back.
He has worked his way back to fitness and last month earned a contract with Sussex for the rest of the season.
Donald was pinned in front by a full-length ball, Vince caught behind off an inside edge and Northeast bowled through the gate to send the 6,000-strong crowd at Hove into raptures.
At 18 for three it was a long way back for Hampshire but opener Rilee Rossouw gave it his best shot with 60 off 38 balls, including eight fours and a six.
However, his innings was interrupted when he was hit on the side of the helmet attempting a ramp shot off David Wiese and had to go off for treatment.
Lewis McManus struck 32 off 15 balls but Topley’s burst had left them too much to do.
Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan took two wickets and former Hampshire slow left-armer Danny Briggs took three for 35.
The Sharks had earlier been put in on a sticky, slow pitch and their 188 for six looked above par.
Opener Phil Salt, who was called into England’s T20 squad earlier this year, led the way with 73 off 46 balls.
Wiese struck 44 not out and Khan, who smashed 22 off seven balls, provided impetus at the end.
Chris Wood was the pick of the Hampshire bowlers with two for 30.