|Scorecard:||Essex v Sussex|
|Player:||Yasir Arafat, DR Smith, EC Joyce, JS Foster, HM Amla|
|Event:||NatWest Pro40 League 2009|
Sussex have begin their defence of Division One Pro40 title with a good four-wicket win over Essex at Chelmsford.
Ed Joyce made 91 off 78 balls opening the batting as the Sharks successfully chased down the home side's total of 263-8 with 10 balls to spare.
However it was Dwayne Smith's crucial and excruciating knock of 60 from just 34 balls which made all the difference.
The West Indian right-hander hammered seven fours and two humoungous sixes to swing what looked like a tight contest in Sussex's favour.
Rory Hamilton-Brown in the end chipped in with a quick-fire 25 from 18 balls after the defending champions had been given a solid start by Joyce.
Joyce was denied a deserved century habing been caught by wicketkeeper James Foster off the bowling of Grant Flower.
The former Middlesex player played important hands in partnerships of 64 with Luke Wright (21) and then 65 with Murray Goodwin (41 from 48 balls).
Though Essex kept taking wickets at regular intervals, their inability to control the run-rate proved their nemesis after Hashim Amla's excellent century had helped them post a challenging target.
The South African right-hander reached three figures in his maiden one-day appearance for the county. He had also made a match-saving 181 against Glamorgan on his debut in the LV County Championship.
Like Joyce, he also opened the innings and hit a superb 111 from 107 deliveries which was studded with eight fours and a six. He finally gave a simple return catch to Yasir Arafat (2-39).
Foster's 45-ball 60, including taking 21 off one over from spinner Hamilton-Brown, meant he dominated a fifth-wicket stand of 104 in 13 overs.
A pair of sixes from James Middlebrook boosted Essex's final total, though it still wasn't enough as the Sharks batsmen flourished under the floodlights.