Nottinghamshire Secure Historic Victory
Match Report | 17th June 2014
Nottinghamshire completed a stunning run chase to pull off a 6-wicket win in their LV= County Championship match against Middlesex at Trent Bridge.
Set to score 385 in a minimum of 86 overs the home side reached their target with 11.1 overs to spare.
Five batsmen passed 50, with the platform for the victory being set up by the opening pair of Alex Hales and Phil Jaques, who posted 156 together.
Hales made 94, narrowly missing out on a century for the second time in the match, with Jaques contributing 76.
Michael Lumb scored 68, his first half-century of the season and it was left to James Taylor and Riki Wessels to see their side over the line with an unbeaten stand of 103.
In scoring 385, Notts pulled off their third highest run chase of all time.
Wessels hit the winning runs, an enormous six over deep midwicket, to end with an unbeaten 74 from just 48 deliveries, hitting 5 fours and 5 sixes.
He admitted his approach might have taken Mick Newell by surprise.
““I don’t know if the gaffer’s happy with me or not – I guess it’s a good job we won but I know he wasn’t expecting me to bat like that.
“I got one away to the short boundary from Steven Finn early on and thought I’d chance my arm and luckily got away with it.
“When the spinner bowled at me with no man out it was quite easy for me to keep going over the top. I expected them to push some guys out but they didn’t so it made it much easier for me to keep clearing the ropes.”
Middlesex began the day with an overall lead of 333, with John Simpson and Paul Stirling resuming their unbroken sixth wicket partnership of 80.
Luke Fletcher and Harry Gurney were given the ball for Notts and both were soon amongst the wickets.
The final ball of the second over saw the end of Simpson (49) as Gurney blasted one into his stumps. New man Toby Roland-Jones pulled Fletcher for 6 and then Stirling hit the other bowler for a flat maximum over point.
Umpire Hartley initialled called it as a four but after checking altered the signal to bring Stirling his 50 (80 balls 6x4 1x6).
Roland-Jones’ (16) fun and frolics ended with one six and 2 fours to his name in a brief stay as he then hoisted Fletcher straight up and safely into the gloves of Read, completing his 450th first class dismissal at Trent Bridge.
Tim Murtagh (0) and Steven Finn (3) both had their stumps flattened by Gurney, at which point Chris Rogers declared, leaving Stirling unbeaten on 66.
In pursuit of their target Alex Hales and Phil Jaques got the innings off to a flyer, with 18 from the initial two overs, and then the 50 after 7.5 overs.
Both openers reached their respective fifties just before lunch, Hales (62 balls 8x4) and Jaques (43 balls 9x4), with 108-0 on the board, leaving 277 still required.
After a settling in period, they soon picked up the pace again in the early afternoon conditions and had put on 156 by the time of Middlesex’s breakthrough.
Jaques (76) went for a leg side hit off Ravi Patel and found Roland-Jones on the deep midwicket boundary.
Lumb was quickly into his stride, helping Hales add 72 through the second part of the afternoon. The left-hander dominated the strike and the scoring, and pulling Roland-Jones over the ropes for six as he sped to his first 50 of the summer (56 balls 7x4 1x6).
Hales was dropped on 86. There had been an earlier half chase when Stirling tried to get his fingers under one at slip but his later reprieve was straightforward, with Dexter the culprit off Patel.
The opener (94) again missed out on a deserved hundred as he fell to an lbw verdict against Patel. Following his 96 in the first innings, it was the second time in his career that Hales had fallen in the 90s twice in the same match (Lancs 2010).
James Taylor got off the mark with an on-driven four just before tea but needed some help to guide Notts over the finishing line after losing Lumb and Samit Patel in quick succession.
The left-hander fell for 68, flashing an edge behind, off Finn and then Patel (5) drove to short extra cover.
Riki Wessels’ approach was ruthless. He bludgeoned whatever bowler was put in front of him that reminded supporters of his knock against Northants earlier in the season.
He reached his fifty (38 balls, 3x4 3x6) just one delivery after Taylor (84 balls 1x6 4x4) and the pair were soon doing a merry celebrating dance as they hugged in the centre of the strip.
The winning blow being an almighty maximum, by Wessels, off the part-time bowling of Eoin Morgan.
With 22 points for the victory Nottinghamshire, temporarily (with other games in progress) go to the top of the Division One table.