WARWICKSHIRE BEARS retained their outside chance of qualifying for the Royal London Cup quarter-finals with a four-wicket win over Sussex at Rugby School.
Knowing they needed to beat Sussex, and then Kent at Edgbaston on Wednesday (and also hope that other results go their way), the Bears fulfilled the first part of the equation by extending Sussex’s nightmare Group B campaign.
Put in on a good pitch in the elegant, tree-lined setting of Rugby School, Sussex, without a win in the competition, compiled a meagre 217. Only George Bailey (59 from 72 balls) built an innings of substance against an accurate attack led by Jeetan Patel (three for 42) and Oliver Hannon-Dalby (three for 46).
Warwickshire then suffered a couple of wobbles but William Porterfield’s skilful 100 (125 balls, 13 fours), his ninth List A century, saw them comfortably home.
Sussex’s innings started well enough. Ed Joyce soon lifted Keith Barker to mid-off but Luke Wright and Matt Machan added 50 from 45 balls before the former (39 from 38 balls) edged Hannon-Dalby to wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose.
Machan lifted Barker over long off for six on his way to 39 (44 balls) but fell lbw attempting to reverse-sweep Ateeq Javid and thereafter only Bailey made much progress against the spinners.
Craig Cachopa top-edged a pull at Patel who then took a simple return catch to end a promising innings (27 from 37 balls) by 20-year-old Harry Finch, playing only his third List A game.
Chris Jordan lifted his back foot and was stumped off Javid and when Luke Wells fell lbw to Patel, the spinners had shared five middle-order wickets for 71 runs to leave Sussex 193 for seven.
Boyd Rankin returned to end Bailey’s resistance lbw, Will Beer edged Hannon-Dalby and when Patel took a well-judged boundary catch to remove Chris Liddle off the former Yorkshire seamer, Sussex looked well below par at 217.
Warwickshire started badly when Jordan forced Varun Chopra and Jonathan Trott to play on in his first nine balls but Porterfield and Ambrose added 79 to steady the ship. Ambrose (34, 61 balls) fell lbw to Wells and when spinners Wells and Beer removed Laurie Evams and Clarke in five balls, the Bears were awkwardly perched on 130 for five.
But Porterfield found a resolute partner in Javid and their measured sixth-wicket stand of 81 in 105 balls kept Warwickshire’s hopes of a quarter-final place very much alive.
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