Kent had to settle for a tie after last-ball drama in a rain-shortened NatWest T20 Blast game at Hove on Sunday evening.
Jimmy Neesham hit five sixes in his 51 not out from just 30 balls and cleared the ropes from the final two deliveries of the innings to guide the Spitfires to 176-4 in soggy Sussex.
The Kiwi shared 102 in a 10-over fourth-wicket stand with Sam Billings - who returned to form with a bang with 64 from 42 balls - equalling the club's record T20 stand for the wicket set by Geraint Jones and Darren Stevens at Hampshire eight years ago.
However after a lengthy rain delay, the Sharks were tasked to score 88 from eight overs under the Duckworth-Lewis method.
After scoring 19 off the opening over from Matt Coles, the hosts were always in touch with the asking rate and needed 29 from the final 18 deliveries and 20 from the last two overs.
Chris Nash was Kent's tormentor in chief, clubbing six sixes in a 25-ball half-century.
Just eight were needed off the final over from Mitch Claydon - whose first over went for 18 - and then five from the last four balls, however a run of singles left the hosts needing two from the final ball, with all three results still possible.
Nash and Laurie Evans registered the first run but a diving Evans was run-out by Alex Blake trying to win it, with a superb direct hit from long-on which restricted the hosts to 87-3 and sparked celebrations from the Kent players.
Earlier Luke Wright (8) fell to Neesham while Ross Taylor hit one back to Calum Haggett.
Kent were 64-3 at the mid-point of their innings, losing Sam Northeast (28), Joe Denly (16) and Daniel Bell-Drummond (5).
Kent - who had lost three of their opening five South Group games - are back in action against Somerset at Canterbury on Thursday.