Notts Outlaws made it three wins out of three in this season’s Yorkshire Bank 40 competition when they defeated Worcestershire by five wickets at New Road.

After rain had restricted the contest to 16 overs per side Notts were set 127 to win and they successfully reached their target with four balls left unused.

Alex Hales led the charge, scoring 72 from 41 balls before falling with only seven runs needed.

Mick Newell, Notts director of cricket, was understandably relieved that a positive result had been achieved.

“It was a long day and we had the right end of the weather again in terms of batting second and being set a chase that was certainly gettable,” he said.

“I’m very pleased with Alex, I thought he was excellent throughout the innings. He got us off to the good start that we needed and once we’d got the run-rate down to six or seven an over he showed a lot of maturity through the middle, taking singles and just keeping it ticking over nicely.

“It would have been nice if he’d been there at the end.”

After selecting the same eleven for their opening two matches Notts were forced into a couple of changes, with Ed Cowan and Graeme White replacing the unavailable England duo of James Taylor and Graeme Swann.

Chris Read won the toss and elected to field first when play eventually got under way at 4pm after steady drizzle had delayed the start and reduced the contest to 25 overs per side.

Harry Gurney and Andy Carter began with three economical overs before Moeen Ali broke the shackles hitting eighteen from the first five balls of the fourth over – including two powerfully-struck leg side sixes.

Timing it sweetly, he went for another aggressive pull from the final ball of the over and served up an easy catch for Ed Cowan at mid on.

The openers had put on 39 for the first wicket but less than five overs later half of the home side had followed Ali back to the pavilion, for the addition of only 13 more runs.

Alex Kervezee (1) tamely lifted Samit Patel into the hands of Riki Wessels at cover, Daryl Mitchell (15) lobbed Jake Ball to Michael Lumb and both bowlers then picked up cheap lbw dismissals as well.

Ball snared Thilan Samaraweera (5) and Patel claimed Neil Pinner as the procession continued.

Gareth Andrew and Michael Johnson added another dozen before Worcestershire got a helping hand from the weather, with a delay of around eighty minutes.

Upon the resumption Gareth Andrew made the most of the five overs that remained in the innings, speeding from 7 not out to 62 not out with clean hitting that included 24 from the final over, bowled by Steven Mullaney.

Andrew and partner Michael Johnson (17 not out) added an unbeaten 80 in 7.1 overs, leaving the home side with a total of 132-5 from their 16 overs.

The Notts reply got off to a dreadful start as Michael Lumb (0) was sensationally caught at short midwicket by Samaraweera off the second ball of the innings.

Hales and Riki Wessels turned the tables immediately with a punchy stand of 79 in just seven overs.

Wessels (28) blasted three towering sixes, two of them from successive deliveries by Brett D’Oliveira, with both – appropriately – landing in the Basil D’Oliveira Stand.

Hales blasted his way to his fifty (26 balls, 7x4, 1x6) but then lost a couple of partners.

Patel (4) was bowled by Mitchell and Ed Cowan (10), making his one-day debut for Notts, was caught behind, with the ball seemingly lodging in the ‘keepers pads.

Hales fine knock ended with a boundary catch but Notts were in sight of the win and Read (3 not out) and Mullaney (8 not out) ensured there would be no further mishaps.

The Outlaws now lie top of the Group A table with maximum points from their opening three matches and are next in action in this competition when they face Warwickshire Bears at Edgbaston on Thursday 23rd May.