Sussex pulled off one of the surprises of the domestic cricket season as they beat Surrey at Hove to condemn the runaway T20 Blast South Group leaders to a first defeat of the campaign.
Surrey, who are also top in the County Championship, looked on course for another victory at 111-2 in the 11th over, chasing 173 to win.
But they lost their last eight wickets for just 44 to lose by 17 runs.
Hampshire were also victorious, while Notts and Yorkshire won in North Group.
Derbyshire’s hammering by neighbours Notts Outlaws, who plundered 247-5, their highest score in T20 cricket, came on a night when weakened Lancashire escaped with a point from their rained-off game with Durham at Blackpool.
That means Lancashire stay top, two points clear of Birmingham Bears, Northamptonshire and Derbyshire, who are all on 14 points.
Surrey’s defeat by struggling Sussex, who started the evening just one place off the bottom of South Group, still leaves them five points clear on top – and all but guaranteed a home quarter-final.
“Midway through their innings it looked like they would walk it,” said Sussex all-rounder Delray Rawlins, who hit 34 and then took 2-36. “But getting Laurie Evans out was a big wicket and gave us belief. Ravi Bopara got two special run-outs and once Will Jacks was out we got a squeeze on.”
This week’s T20 action
- Wednesday: Bears end Northants’ 100% home record
- Tuesday’s round-up: Surrey beat Somerset in last-ball thriller
- Sunday’s round-up: Lancs & Surrey win again
Lancashire had to settle for just a point from their abandonment against Durham at Stanley Park – but it might have been worse.
The Lightning suffered their first defeat of this year’s T20 Blast when they lost to Durham at the Riverside two weeks ago. And they were badly weakened this time.
They were without skipper Dane Vilas, who was on a one-match suspension for dissent following his dismissal in the County Championship match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston, injured trio Keaton Jennings (calf), Matt Parkinson (hand) and Saqib Mahmood, and England absentees Phil Salt, Liam Livingstone and Jos Buttler, who has now not made an appearance for Lancashire in more than a year.
They looked like they might also lose this one, having made only 133-6 when rain called a halt to their innings with 14 balls left. That was despite a 55-run stand between captain Steven Croft, who hit an unbeaten 52 – his second successive fifty at his home club – and teenage keeper George Bell on his debut.
But the two sides never got back on the field and an hour’s rain was enough for the umpires to call it off.
Lancashire could now ensure qualification for the knockout stages if they can beat Derbyshire on the road on Friday.
Derbyshire nursed hopes of going to the top at the start of the night but they were always on the back foot at Trent Bridge after putting in Nottinghamshire and then being put to the sword by the Outlaws.
All the home top four struck the ball sweetly. Alex Hales hit three sixes and eight fours in his 55 off 23 balls, Ben Duckett smashed 63 in 38, Steven Mullaney 45 in 20 and Joe Clarke 38 in 17, before Tom Moores rounded it off with 20 off eight deliveries, four of which went to the boundary.
In the end, Notts won by a massive 94 runs to bring to an end Derbyshire Falcons’ five-match winning streak.
It looked briefly as if they might be on for the new English domestic T20 record score of 261-2, set on this same ground by Birmingham Bears against Notts just six days before.
Although they fell short of that record, they still comfortably went past their own landmark, bettering by 20 runs the 227-5 posted, also against Derbyshire, at Trent Bridge, in 2017.
Hapless bottom club Worcestershire, the 2018 champions, suffered their ninth defeat in 11 games at home to Yorkshire as England spinner Dom Bess destroyed the home middle-order on his way to career best T20 figures of 3-15.
After slumping to 77-5 in the 13th over, Kashif Ali (46) and Gareth Roderick (31) weighed in with an unbroken stand of 73 in 44 balls, to lift their side to 150-5, but the hosts, still badly missing Moeen Ali and Ben Cox, were quickly made to realise that it was not nearly enough.
Somerset-bound Worcestershire old boy Tom Kohler-Cadmore hit an unbeaten 46 on his return to New Road, while Harry Brook, not selected by England, decamped from Headingley to New Road, to smash 35 off 21 balls.
And Yorkshire got home with ease, winning by five wickets with 31 balls to spare. That lifts the Tykes within three points of group leaders Lancashire, still with three games left – and all against their rivals for a top-four finish.
In-form Surrey opener Will Jacks looked on course to celebrate another victory when he hit his fifth half-century in 11 T20 matches this season – and his second in successive games.
Chasing a Sussex total of 172-5, of which Mohammad Rizwan made 48, Jacks and Laurie Evans looked in complete control.
But Sussex, who had won just three of their previous 10 games, then got rid of Evans for 26 to put a little pressure on.
And, when Surrey then lost Jacks for 76, caught behind, and skipper Chris Jordan in successive balls, they inexplicably buckled to 155 all out.
Essex were too strong for Middlesex at Lord’s as they beat the hosts by 21 runs to edge up to third in the table.
Dan Lawrence (51) and Tom Westley (50) both hit half-centuries as the Eagles posted 161-6, despite being restricted by spinner Chris Green’s 3-16.
But, spearheaded by Sam Cook (3-23), the Essex bowling attack did a sound job as they limited the hosts to 140-8, most of which came from skipper Stevie Eskinazi (43) and Jack Davies (41).
Cook’s stunning triple-wicket maiden ripped the heart out of Middlesex’s top order with the wickets of Max Holden, Joe Cracknell and wicketkeeper John Simpson.
It officially ended Middlesex’s slim hopes of reaching the last eight as they suffered an eighth defeat in 12 games.
At Taunton, away skipper James Vince hit the highest individual score by a Hampshire player in T20 cricket to put the Hawks on top at halfway against Somerset as they made 208-5.
Backed by 62 from Tom Prest in a stand of 144, comfortably Hampshire’s highest for any wicket against Somerset in this competition, Vince smashed 10 sixes in his 129 not out off 63 balls, averaging over two runs per ball.
But Somerset then launched an equally ferocious response, led by Will Smeed’s 43 off 27 balls.
Half-centuries by Tom Banton (54) and Rilee Rossouw (55) maintained the onslaught to leave the hosts needing 42 off four overs.
But scoreboard pressure told and, in this rematch from last year’s semi-final at Edgbaston, when Somerset won by two wickets, Hampshire this time held on to win by 14 runs – and climb to fifth, just two points behind second-placed Somerset.
Friday fixtures (all times BST)
Riverside: Durham v Notts Outlaws (18:30)
Northampton: Northamptonshire Steelbacks v Yorkshire Vikings (18:30)
Derby: Derbyshire Falcons v Lancashire Lightning (19:00)
Edgbaston: Birmingham Bears v Worcestershire Rapids (19:05)
Sophia Gardens: Glamorgan v Somerset (18:30)
Bristol: Gloucestershire v Hampshire Hawks (18:30)
Chelmsford: Essex Eagles v Surrey (19:00)
Canterbury: Kent Spitfires v Sussex Sharks (19:00)