Sussex Winter Watch: Archer aids impressive England
Welcome to another week of Sussex Winter Watch where we take a look at how Sussex players are getting on around the world. This week sees one Shark in Test action with England and a host of other players involved as Abu Dhabi T10 League culminates.
Jofra Archer was back in an England shirt this week as England took on India in the first Test at Chennai. With England, winning the toss and electing to bat on a dry, flat wicket, Joe Root continued his fine form from Sri Lanka and starred with the bat, scoring a magnificent 218.
Archer came in with England in a strong position at 525/7 but was dismissed first ball, bowled by ex-Sussex oversea man Ishant Sharma to a ball that kept slightly low. However, Archer put the demons of a first-ball duck behind him when he came to bowl in the Indian first innings.
Archer’s tactic of bowling leg-cutters paid off almost instantly when he removed Rohit Sharma for six, with the India opener edging through to Jos Buttler. Archer didn’t have to wait long for a second, with opener Shubman Gill chipping a shot in the air and being dismissed by a superb catch by James Anderson for 29.
Archer was unable to get another breakthrough in the first innings with spin taking over, India eventually dismissed for 337, giving England a lead of 241 runs. England’s second innings saw a dramatic change in the pitch, with it spinning more and creating uneven bounce.
Archer was the ninth wicket to fall, bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin for five, England were soon all out for 178 with Anderson the last wicket to fall but with a lead of 419. Archer only bowled nine overs in the second innings as spin and the ever-present Anderson took centre stage but the fast-bowler was on hand to wrap up a famous England victory, having Jasprit Bumrah caught by Buttler for four to seal a 227-run win.
Several Sussex stars were in action in the Abu Dhabi T10 League as teams began to work towards the finals.
The start of the week saw Ravi Bopara’s Delhi Bulls continue their excellent form with an eight-wicket win over Deccan Gladiators, despite Bopara not having to bat or bowl.
Bopara’s side continued their dominance later in the week as they restricted Pune Devils to the lowest total of the season of 57/7. The Bulls were able to take home a comfortable eight-wicket win despite Bopara only managing two runs, a minor blip on his otherwise amazing form in the tournament.
George Garton’s Bangla Tigers also got off to a winning start in the week with an eight-wicket win over Pune Devils, with Garton only bowling the one over, going 0-12.
Chris Jordan made it three Sussex wins from four at the start of the week as his side Qalandars won by four wickets over Maratha Arabians, Jordan bowling tightly with figures of 0-13 and finishing 0 not out to see his side home.
Luke Wright’s Team Abu Dhabi started the week with the Sussex white-ball skipper in form, smashing 33 off 15 balls against the Northern Warriors in a total of 123/3. However, it was vain as his side were defeated by eight wickets by Northern Warriors to continue their tough start to the season.
However, Wright’s side were able to bounce back later in the week with a nine-wicket win over Maratha Arabians, with Wright not having to bat.
Garton and Jordan then faced off later in the week with both bowling superbly well, the former going 1-8 from his two overs, the latter 1-11 from his allocation. Garton finished one not out but was unable to guide his side home in a chase of 105, as Jordan’s Qalandars came out on top by seven runs.
There were then two Sussex match-ups in the final fixtures of the group stage with the latter grabbing the prized scalp of Chris Gayle for just one but he was unable to stop his Sussex captain from making 26 off 18 balls as Team Abu Dhabi set a chase of 117, with Garton finishing with figures of 1-23.
It wasn’t to be for Garton again as his side were completely undone, Garton scoring one in his side’s total of 95/9, ironically dismissed courtesy of a catch from Wright.
The second face-off saw two in-form teams meet as Jordan took on Bopara. Jordan had already starred in the tournament with the ball but was on fire with the batt, smashing 18 off just nine balls in his side’s total of 107/6. However, that proved not to be enough for the unstoppable Delhi Bulls as they cruised to a nine-wicket win with Bopara finishing 37 not out off just 15 balls, Jordan unable to stop them, going 0-16 from his one over.
Wright, Jordan and Bopara’s sides all had done enough to make it into the knockout stages, with the first eliminator seeing Qalandars taking on Team Abu Dhabi. Qalandar’s batted first but struggled to set a decent total, despite a late six from Jordan, as they set 84 to win.
Despite a slight early wobble which saw Team Abu Dhabi fall to 21/3 with Wright dismissed for a three-ball duck, his side were able to win by six wickets, which meant Qalandars would have to settle for a third-place playoff.
Elsewhere, Bopara’s Bulls faced Northern Warriors, with a win for either side set to catapult them straight into the final. The Bulls were able to restrict the Warriors to 97/7 and were once again able to show their prowess in chasing as they won by five wickets with an over to spare, Bopara finishing 15 not out to secure a spot in the final.
This result meant Wright’s side needed just one more win to meet Bopara’s Delhi Bulls in the final, but they would have to get past Northern Warriors first. Wright, batting at a peculiar position of seven, finished six not out in his side’s total of 114/7. However, his side’s strong total was undone by some West Indian brilliance as 46 from 27 balls from Lendl Simmons and 49 from 24 balls from Rovman Powell helped chase down the total with two balls to spare, meaning Wright and Jordan would face off again in the third-place play-off.
It would have been a thrilling conclusion to the two players' campaign but Qalandars decided to rest Jordan, who was named bowler of the tournament. Wright, once again batting at seven, was dismissed for a three-ball duck in his side’s total of 124/6. Despite some heavy hitting from Englishman Daniel Bell-Drummond (46 off 19 balls), Qalandars were unable to chase it down, losing by 21 runs to end a decent tournament for Wright’s side.
However, the final was the big occasion as Bopara looked to secure a T10 title as the Delhi Bulls took on the Northern Warriors. The Bulls had been the in-form side all tournament but the Warriors restricted them to 81/9 with Bopara only able to muster nine off 11 balls.
This below-par total was easily chased down by the Warriors, as they won by eight wickets with an over to spare.