Skipper Mike Yardy believes his Sussex side will benefit from their Indian experience despite going out in the first round of the inaugural Champions League Twenty20.
While Somerset, Trindad & Tobago and the club sides from South Africa, Australia and the IPL franchises fight it out for the £3.6m jackpot, the Sharks headed home after losing their make-or-break clash with Diamond Eagles in Delhi.
For the first time, an English county was involved in a super-over – a concept developed a year ago by Sir Allen Stanford for his ill-fated $20m series – after Kent’s Ryan McLaren hit the final ball off former county team-mate Yasir Arafat for four to tie the scores.
Arafat was then entrusted with the sudden-death over and restricted Eagles to nine runs even though opener Rillee Rossouw, who had earlier top-scored with 65 for his side, hit the third ball for a six.
Teams are only allowed to lose two batsmen in a super-over, though, and Sussex’s challenge was ended after just two balls as Dwayne Smith and then Rory Hamilton-Brown had ill-judged swipes at CJ de Villiers and lost their off stump.
Eagles had been on course for an easy win when Rossouw, 20, made 62 off 65 balls and they had reached 65 for 0 in the ninth over replying to Sussex’s 119-7.
But Sussex’s spinners dragged it back so well that they began the final over as favourites with Eagles needing 11 runs.
Former Leicestershire seamer Dillon du Preez squeezed a boundary off an inside edge, however, and then ran a single to allow McLaren to earn his side extra time with a blow over long on which was only a few feet short of winning the game.
Instead of Hyderabad, Sussex were heading to Heathrow and Yardy admitted: “It is a very bitter pill to swallow.
“Nine times out of ten Yasir would have defended that total in the last over. We didn’t plan for a super-over, it didn’t even cross my mind until the last ball that it was heading that way. To be fair, people put their hand up to take responsibility with bat and ball but it didn’t come off for us.”
The Indian experience has been an eye-opener for the inexperienced members of the Sussex party but an enriching one nonetheless according to their captain.
Yardy added: “We didn’t want to go home early but we have enjoyed the tournament and we now know how big an event this is and would love to come back.
“We weren’t sure how big it was when we were preparing back home so there is an incentive for us to play well in domestic Twenty20 next year and hopefully return to India in a year’s time.
“It has been a great experience for everyone, young and old. And it gives us something to work on back in England this winter. We will take on board what we have learned here and try to get better.”