Sussex aim to go one better after 2018 near-miss with Rashid Khan

T20 BLAST PREVIEW: After going so close last year can the Sharks improve again and continue their impressive recent white-ball form?

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Coach: Jason Gillespie

Captain: Luke Wright

Overseas: Alex Carey (Australia) and Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)

Last season: Runners-up

How did they do last year?

Sussex got within nine balls of the title in 2018 as they finished runners-up to Moeen Ali’s Worcestershire side. Despite qualifying for the final, they struggled in the group stage – winning just seven of their 14 games. Yet is important to note than four matches were washed out. 

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Luke Wright returns after signing a white-ball only contract

Who are their key players?

Luke Wright: The skipper is always a vital part of their white-ball team. Wright, who appeared in 50 ODIs and 51 IT20s for England, has invaluable experience to offer having previously played in the IPL, BBL, BPL and PSL. And, having retired from red-ball cricket earlier this year, he’ll be very fresh and raring to go. 

Tymal Mills: Sussex have an abundance of bowling talent to choose from, including the mercurial Mills. The 26-year-old, who only plays T20 cricket due to a congenital back condition, is one of the quickest bowlers in the competition. He also has a lot of experience on the global stage having played for England and in the IPL. 

Laurie Evans: Having scored over 600 runs in last year’s tournament – more than any other player – Evans is a priceless member of Sussex’s squad. The batter could be even better in 2019 after he spent the winter playing T20 cricket in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Sussex will be delighted to have a player of his ability in their ranks. 

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What are their biggest strengths? 

With Wright, Evans, Alex Carey and Phil Salt, Sussex have plenty of fire power with bat – especially when you consider their bowling unit. With the mercurial leg-spin of Rashid Khan, the consistency of Chris Jordan and Danny Briggs, and the unforgettable talent of Jofra Archer – not to mention Mills’ pace – Sussex have the best attack in the competition.

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Alex Carey impressed hugely during the World Cup

Where might they have a weakness? 

If Sussex progress to the last eight, they will be without Khan, who had been announced as an icon player for the inaugural Euro T20 Slam (competition begins on 30 August). They may also lose Archer as he is contention for The Ashes – as too is Alex Carey, although Australia are almost certain to continue with Tim Paine.

Chances of reaching Finals Day?

Sussex are a settled side and have plenty of quality, so it’s hard to imagine them not making the last four.

Strongest XI (with T20 Player Index ratings): Luke Wright (211), Phil Salt (352), Harry Finch (943), Laurie Evans (181), Alex Carey (184), Stiaan van Zyl (766), David Wiese (109), Chris Jordan (58), Danny Briggs (298), Rashid Khan (2), Tymal Mills (140)

Fixtures: Jul 19 – Hampshire (a), Jul 24 – Hampshire (h), Jul 26 – Surrey (h), Jul 28 – Somerset (a), Aug 2 – Kent (h), Aug 4 – Gloucestershire (a), Aug 6 – Gloucestershire (h), Aug 9 – Middlesex (h), Aug 15 – Surrey (a), Aug 16 – Kent (a), Aug 22 – Essex (h), Aug 24 – Middlesex (a), Aug 26 – Glamorgan (a), Aug 30 – Gloucestershire (h)

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