In a dramatic finale at Trent Bridge Notts Outlaws beat Warwickshire Bears by one wicket in Group B of the Royal London One-Day Cup.
The outcome means that both sides now qualify for the quarter finals, although the win means that Notts will have home advantage in their last eight match, whereas Warwickshire will have to travel.
Jonathan Trott scored 108 from 121 balls, with 11 fours and Tim Ambrose scored 98, as the pair added 176 for the third wicket for the Bears.
Luke Fletcher, with career best one-day figures of four for 44, was the only member of the home attack to maintain a modicum of control and his final burst accounted for both members of the huge stand.
Notts replied with a centurion of their own as Alex Hales scored 104 from 90 balls with 12 fours and 3 sixes, sharing in a huge third wicket stand as he and James Taylor, who made 62, added 138 together.
The match hinged on the final delivery of the evening. With the scores tied, Fletcher followed up his performance with the ball by driving Oliver Hannon-Dalby for the winning boundary, to the delight of the majority of the 4,000 crowd.
Taylor, the Nots skipper, was understandably relieved. “It wasn’t ideal leaving it all down to Luke Fletcher and Harry Gurney at the end there but we did what we had to do to secure a home quarter final.
“All credit to Jonathan Trott for the way he played but I thought Alex Hales was excellent again. Michael Lumb got us off to a fast start and I did a bit in the middle but we then lost wickets in clumps which wasn’t ideal.
“We have won a few close ones lately and are starting to believe we can win from anywhere. There’s a strong belief in that dressing room.”
With so much riding on the eventual outcome it was with some disappointment that Taylor lost the toss, with his opposite number, Varun Chopra electing to bat first.
Taylor announced an Outlaws line-up that was unchanged from the huge win over Middlesex last week and they were soon buoyed by a couple of early wickets.
Chopra, himself, was first to go. He’d made only 7 when he feathered a ball that angled across him through to Chris Read from Harry Gurney’s bowling.
That was in the 6th and in the 9th Notts struck again. William Porterfield (12) rather tamely chipped Luke Fletcher low into the hands of Samit Patel at short midwicket.
Jonathan Trott had turned his first delivery impressively off his hips for four and had looked like a million dollars from the off. Together with Tim Ambrose, they added 176 for the third wicket, although both batsmen had scares.
On 12 Ambrose may have nicked Ajmal Shahzad behind. Notts celebrated collectively but the batsman remained rooted and umpire Neil Bainton awarded in his favour.
Trott’s ‘life’ was more clear-cut. On 36 he clipped James Franklin to Patel, again in that short midwicket position but the chance went begging.
The chance immediately appeared costly and Trott quickly advanced to his 50 (55 balls 8x4), with the century partnership arriving a moment or two later, from 116 balls.
Twenty years ago, at Edgbaston in 1994, Brian Lara and Roger Twose added 121 for the 3rd wicket, the county’s previous best against Notts. That was easily surpassed as Warwickshire entered the powerplay overs.
With one ball of the 39th over remaining Notts broke the stand, as a Fletcher Yorker crashed through the Ambrose (98) defences and into the base of the stumps.
Trott didn’t let his own century chances slip away and he reached his 17th career one-day hundred (115 balls 10x4) with a 3 through midwicket off Shahzad.
Laurie Evans (32) batted with great gusto, adding 51 with Trott, before being bowled by Shahzad.
Fletcher’s late return then saw off the centurion, caught by the safe hands of Riki Wessels at deep midwicket and he then removed Rikki Clarke (14) superbly stumped by Read.
Ateeq Javid (17) hit a Gurney full toss to Wessels at mid off in the final over.
Michael Lumb (36) was quickly out of the blocks, making his runs from just 21 deliveries before playing on to Clarke.
The same bowler then had Steven Mullaney (7) caught behind, bringing Taylor out to join Hales.
Richard Jones replaced the opening bowlers and let a beamer slip towards Hales at the start of the 13th over, an over that eventually cost 16.
Taylor hit Recordo Gordon into the Fox Road Stand for the first 6 of the evening just before Hales reached his 50 (58 balls 7x4).
A poor piece of cricket by Clarke gave Notts an overthrow to bring Hales back onto strike at the start of the 23rd over. It proved costly as Hales hit Richard Jones for 6-4-4.
Hales then hit Javid for another maximum to bring up the 100 partnership from 97 balls.
A third Hales 6, off Javid, took him to his third century (83 balls 12x4 3x6) of this season’s competition and his fourth in two weeks in all competitions.
The third wicket stand ended on 138 when Recordo Gordon bowled Hales (108) via a wicked deflection from his back leg onto the stumps.
Taylor reached his 50 (74 balls 0x4 1x6) but Notts then ran aground during the batting powerplay, losing three important wickets.
Samit Patel (10) drove Jeetan Patel loosely to short midwicket, Riki Wessels’ (2) bottom hand came off the bat as he hit to mid off and then Taylor (62) was caught behind.
Read (15) was dropped first ball, as he plundered the ball back into the chest of Jones but he didn’t make the most of his good fortune by also falling to a catch at mid off, from Jeetan Patel’s bowling.
James Franklin (23) hit down the ground and was well taken by Porterfield in front of the Radcliffe Road Stand, leaving 22 needed from the last 2 overs.
Gordon thought he’d bowled Shahzad but replays showed that a no ball had been delivered and the resultant decision was costly as 18 came from the penultimate over.
Once Shahzad had been run out it was left to Fletcher to score the winning runs to take Notts through.