A 25 run victory over the Worcestershire Royals ensured that the Notts Outlaws maintained their unbeaten home record in this season’s Friends Life t20 North Group match. Batting first, after skipper Adam Voges had won the toss, the Outlaws reached 167-6 from their 20 overs, with the captain top-scoring on 55.
His side then dismissed the Royals for 142, with three balls of the final over remaining, with both Darren Pattinson and Luke Fletcher claiming three wickets apiece.
The victory – and results elsewhere – mean that the Outlaws will now host Somerset in the quarter finals – with the tie taking place at Trent Bridge in early August.
Last year it was Somerset who won the semi final clash between the two sides – a fixture that Samit Patel remembers well. “I’ve thought about that match a lot since then,” said the Outlaws all-rounder. “We would probably have won that match but for that catch by Keiron Pollard, so perhaps it’s now ‘Pay-Back Time!”
Samit reflected on the team’s good form in this year’s competition. “We’ve played really nicely in the group stages and look to bat positively all the way down the order. What has been good is that on pretty much each occasion someone in the top six has scored big runs to help us on the way to a decent total and we always feel confident of defending a good score.”
Voges – Man of the Match for his half century, added that he’d enjoyed the experience of captaining the side at Trent Bridge. “It was terrific – I thought the crowd were amazing tonight and I’m really looking forward to the quarter finals now. I was so pleased to win the toss – I just hoped that David Hussey hadn’t used up all of our luck.”
Notts made three changes from the side which had played against Somerset in the county championship fixture that ended the previous day, with Tamim Iqbal, Darren Pattinson and Graeme White included, in place of Neil Edwards, Paul Franks and Stuart Broad.
Jack Shantry opened the bowling for the Royals and very quickly put himself in the frame to be the star-man for his side, taking wickets in all of his first three overs.
Tamim Iqbal (0) fell to the fourth ball he faced – the previous two had brushed his pads and sped down to the boundary for leg byes. Looking to loft the left armer over the top, a mistimed shot from the left-hander was easily pouched by Moeen Ali.
Alex Hales (1) chipped to Vikram Solanki in the third over and in the fifth Samit Patel (0) edged to Daryl Mitchell at slip. With Adam Voges settling well the Outlaws advanced to 44-3 at the end of the powerplay overs and had moved to 69-3 after nine as spinners Ajmal and Ali looked to take pace off the ball.
Back to back boundaries brought Voges (55) to his half century but then he hit straight to point where Gareth Andrew took a routine catch.
Riki Wessels (33) also departed when set, pulling Shakib al Hasan tamely to deep square leg.
When Shantry returned for his final over he was immediately set upon by Steven Mullaney who hit him for successive fours, either side of a six pulled into the Tavern Stand – the first maximum of the innings.
Chris Read (20) hit Ajmal for two powerful fours in the 19th over to bring up the fifty stand for the 6th wicket but then was caught midway through the final over – hitting Andrew to Kervezee out on the offside boundary.
Steven Mullaney (35 not out) put Andre Adams on strike and he hit the final ball of the innings to the ropes to take the Outlaws to a 20 over total of 167-6.
The reply quickly floundered with only a score of 36-4 on the board after the first five overs. Luke Fletcher dismissed both Solanki (1) and Shakib (13). The Bangladesh Test captain had hit the fast bowler for two huge sixes into the Fox Road Stand but then lobbed the next delivery to his countryman Tamim Iqbal at mid on.
Darren Pattinson also weighed in with a couple of early wickets. Kervezee (1) taken by a splendid legside catch by Read and Cameron (0) unluckily chopped on.
With their hopes of qualification for the quarter finals depending on victory Worcs tried to increase the tempo. Ali was credited with a six as Riki Wessels couldn’t take a catch cleanly before falling over the rope, from Mullaney’s bowling.
Voges turned to his spearhead to try and break the stand and Pattinson immediately obliged, getting Ali (41), mistiming to Mullaney in the ring.
With five overs to go the total stood at 112-5, just a couple of runs behind where Notts had been at the same stage. Gareth Andrew arrived in the middle with a Mongoose bat – a device with a longer handle than normal, designed for power hitting. He moved effortlessly to 20 but then creamed a ball from Fletcher to the Fox Road boundary where Hales took a sharp catch.
Mitchell had tried to hold his side together – making 45 at better than a run a ball but once he’d fallen to Graeme White the match was effectively over and Choudry, Scott and Shantry fell cheaply.
The Notts players celebrated and now look forward to hosting Somerset in early August for a place at Finals Day.