Published: 00:00, 12 July 2014 |
Updated: 14:24, 13 July 2014
Rob Key's men looked to be cruising to victory having reduced their hosts to 99-7 with less than four overs remaining as they chased down Kent's 149-9.
But Chris Jordan's 27 and 25 by Will Beer almost sealed a dramatic victory, the former falling in the final over which was bowled by Mitch Claydon, having just hit a six to bring victory within his range.
Kent were earlier indebted to Alex Blake's unbeaten half-century which rescued their innings from 62-5 in the 11th over.
Daniel Bell-Drummond and Rob Key started well enough but Key went for 11 and Sam Northeast, Fabian Cowdrey and Darren Stevens quickly followed for single figures.
But Blake remained unmoved, hitting five sixes in a 32-ball 53 not out which gave his team a total to defend.
Spinner Beer (3-18) was the most successful bowler while Yasir Arafat took 3-32.
Ben Harmison took centre stage in Sussex's reply, taking two wickets in three balls in the third over to remove Chris Nash and Luke Wells.
But it was the wicket of dangerman Luke Wright, so often a thorn in Kent's side, that gave the visitors real hope of victory. Wright chopped a James Tredwell delivery onto his own stumps in the seventh over and Cowdrey's arm ball quickly accounted for Craig Cachopa.
Cowdrey (2-28) then saw Matt Machan hole out at long-off for four and Sussex were 41-5 in the ninth over.
Ben Brown (33) took advantage of a hard chance to Key that went down to increase the run rate while Tredwell - who played four-day cricket on loan for Sussex earlier in the week - took 2-12 in four overs against his part-time team-mates.
When he removed Yasir Arafat, it looked like Kent would cruise home but Jordan hit 37 in 26 balls and Beer 25 in 12 balls to give Kent a late scare.
Kent continue their T20 Blast campaign at Essex on Saturday afternoon.
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