DIRECTOR of cricket John Bracewell praised Jack Taylor for the way he handled the pressure to secure a 13-run win over Sussex at Bristol, which kept Gloucestershire’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals alive.
The 22-year-old off-spinner took 3-12 off 2.4 overs, with the wicket of Ben Brown when 26 were needed from 15 balls proving decisive, and kept his nerve at the death as Sussex were bowled out for 125 in a game reduced to 15 overs per side due to rain.
Sussex’s decision to bowl first following a rain-delayed start back-fired as their innings ended in darkness after Ian Cockbain smashed 52 off 36 balls, including four fours and three sixes, in Gloucestershire’s 138-7.
Bracewell said: “Jack had to bowl at the short end with the wind which was a great over and to come back and bowl at the end in the death over was an outstanding execution of the skills.
He added: “It did look dark but it was good the game got going. Our guys said they could see the ball clearly in the middle.
“It was a big game for both of us. We knew that both teams wanted to play the game to give themselves a chance and it was great entertainment.”
After the early loss of Chris Dent (7), Alex Gidman and Ian Cockbain plundered 68 runs in 43 balls for the second wicket to put Gloucestershire in a commanding position at 80-1.
However, Will Beer (2-21) removed Gidman (22) and Adam Rouse (0) in the space of three balls to put the brakes on and Gloucestershire lost their way with six wickets going for 35 runs.
Graeme McCarter (16*) hit 14 off the first three balls of Lewis Hatchett’s final over, which went for 20, to give Gloucestershire a competitive total with Will Gidman finishing on 26 not out off 16 balls.
Sussex were soon reduced to 4-2 with Will Gidman (2-27) removing England international Luke Wright for nought and David Payne (2-14) claiming the wicket of Luke Wells (3), both well caught by Rouse.
Skipper Chris Nash kick-started the innings with 25 off just ten balls, while Matt Machan (28), Harry Finch (16), Ben Brown (19) and Beer (18) kept them in the hunt but Gloucestershire picked up wickets at crucial times.
Sussex went into the last over bowled by Taylor requiring 18 to win and Beer’s huge hit off the second ball appeared to be going for six, only for Hamish Marshall to pluck the ball out of the air at full stretch at deep mid-wicket and hold on superbly inches inside the rope, before Alex Gidman caught last man Hatchett running backwards to seal the win with two balls to spare.
Gloucestershire have moved up to fifth in the South Group and are three points behind Glamorgan in the final qualifying spot with four games remaining.