Nottinghamshire’s campaign in the Twenty20 Cup ended with a nine-wicket defeat by Lancashire Lightning - despite fireworks from David Hussey.
The Aussie hit 55 from 32 balls in the Outlaws total of 173-7 - their highest score in the competition this year - but it was not enough as a blitz from Lancashire’s Steven Croft and VVS Laxman saw the visitors home with two overs to spare.
While Notts in-form openers Matt Wood and Ali Brown were both dismissed without reaching 20, two sixes from Samit Patel (37) kept the hosts going at a healthy rate.
But it was the partnership between Hussey and Kevin O’Brien which really got the Notts innings going, as the pair put on 54 in just five overs thanks to some sharp running between the wickets and two muscular sixes from Hussey off Gary Keedy.
O’Brien hit one six of his own before he was bowled by Croft for 26, with Paul Franks caught in the next over - but Hussey went big again in the 19th over, hitting Croft for two sixes to bring up his half-century from 28 balls.
An excellent final over from England hopeful Saj Mahmood conceded just three, and the quick bowler also bowled Hussey off the final ball of the innings as the 31-year-old tried to flick a full delivery over fine leg.
While Darren Pattinson struck early to have Paul Horton caught at short fine leg, Croft swung from the hip as soon as he got to the wicket and saw the ball fly to the boundary time and time again.
While the all-rounder rode his luck to some degree on his way to 83, Laxman was no less aggressive while looking every inch the classy international batsman with 14 Test hundreds to his name.
Croft’s less orthodox shots kept on avoiding the fielders and although Hussey missed a run-out chance when Croft was on 61, by that stage it would have made no difference to the end result.
Afterwards, Director of Cricket Mick reflected on the campaign and said: “The fixtures were split in two halves and in those first six games we were poor, especially with the bat.
“But this has been a decent week and we didn’t do a heck of a lot wrong, even against Lancashire. We posted an above average score for Trent Bridge and I don’t think we bowled too badly either.
“You have to say well played to Croft and Laxman really, we needed wickets to put pressure on them and they batted very well to prevent us doing that.”
Three of Notts four wins came when one of their trio of England internationals were available, with Graeme Swann blasting Derbyshire away last month, while Ryan Sidebottom’s bowling was key to victory over Yorkshire and Leicestershire earlier in the week.
Newell said: “In this form of the game, your experienced players are key. You have Sidebottom bowling yorkers at the death, and Swann offers so much to us with bat and ball.
“But we knew going into the competition we wouldn’t have them available. We missed them, but we didn’t plan for them.”
HUSSEY 50 CAN'T PREVENT NOTTS DEFEAT
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Follow us for latest news and behind the scenes exploits.
SIGN UP FOR ALL THE LATEST
It's jolly convenient to receive latest news, ticket information and behind the scenes exploits direct to your inbox and we'll never pass on your information to others.