For the second evening running Riki Wessels was the batting hero for Notts Outlaws as they defeated Derbyshire Falcons by 27 runs in their NatWest T20 Blast match at Trent Bridge.
Wessels, who scored 66 in the victory over Leicestershire Foxes just 24 hours earlier, made an unbeaten 95 from just 51 deliveries, hitting 10 fours and four sixes.
The Outlaws posted 206-5, their seventh highest T20 total of all-time, with James Taylor making 29, Alex Hales’ 23 and Steven Mullaney remaining unbeaten on 24. Mark Footitt, with three for 50 was the most successful Derbyshire bowler.
In front of a gate of 9,383 the Falcons could only muster 179-7 in reply, with Wayne Madsen making 65 and Gareth Cross adding 54. Luke Fletcher returned the pick of the figures, ending with two for 29.
Wessels took the man of the match award, another memento from an incredible seven days.
“It’s just been an incredible week,” he said. “I was so proud to get my cap and then to beat Middlesex like we did was unreal. Now two innings like this, back-to-back, it’s just been perfect.”
The 28 year old seemed to have paced his knock to perfection but then couldn’t get back on strike in the final over.
“I honestly wasn’t thinking about the hundred but after Mull (Steven Mullaney) missed one in the last over, he said he would just get me back on strike, then he hit a four and two sixes, so I can’t complain really.”
The Outlaws retained the same starting eleven that had defeated Leicestershire Foxes 24 hours earlier, meaning that Chris Read was lined up for his 100th T20 appearance for Nottinghamshire.
Two former Outlaws, Scott Elstone, along with Footitt, were included in a Falcons side that was missing Wes Durston with a leg injury.
Alex Hales and Phil Jaques opened up for the home side, with the Australian working Mark Turner to the midwicket fence for the first runs of the evening.
Hales got his innings up and running, with an effortless push through the offside for four, from the bowling of Tony Palladino.
The third over brought a wicket for the visitors, with Jaques (11) inside-edging Footitt back onto his stumps. That brought Riki Wessels to the crease and he was quickly away with a boundary, followed by a pull for six off Turner – from a waist-high no-ball.
Wessels, who bludgeoned 66 the previous evening, scored 16 from his first 6 deliveries as the team 50 came up in just 5.4 overs.
Hales (23) unloaded with an enormous six off Chesney Hughes, the ball landing in the Vice-Presidents seating on top of the pavilion. An attempted repeat from the next ball wasn’t as cleanly struck and Palladino took a well-judged catch in front of the dug outs.
Samit Patel (7) followed in exactly the same fashion, finding Palladino again, to the bowling of Marcus North.
Wessels pushed a couple off David Wainwright to bring up the team 100 and take himself to another half-century (29 balls 7x4 1x6).
The start of the 13th over saw Alex Huighes introduced as the seventh different Falcons’ bowler. James Taylor immediately tickled him away fine for his first boundary.
Wainwright was cut away for a powerful four by Wessels at the start of the 14th but worse was to come for the slow left-armer as a huge heave over long on for 6 was followed by another off side four as the over ended with Notts on 131-3.
The 50 partnership was brought up in only 32 deliveries but the acceleration was yet to come.
An erratic 18th over from Footitt brought 23 runs, plus a wicket from the eighth ball sent down. After a couple of early wides Wessels hit consecutive sixes to move into the nineties for the first time in his career, then Taylor (29) holed out to Turner.
The catcher then grabbed his first wicket with the ball, bowling Chris Read (2), who perished in the search for quick runs.
Wessels was on 94 at the start of the final over – and added a single - but only faced the one ball as Mullaney (24 not out, from just 9 balls) teed off with some big hitting of his own, ending the innings with six, four, six.
The innings rounded off an exceptional week for Wessels. Capped, he then scored 77 and 71 not out in the championship win over Middlesex, followed by scores of 66 and 95 not out in successive short-format fixtures.
His final score was just one run behind the county T20 record, the 96 scored by Michael Lumb at Durham last year.
The dangerous Chesney Hughes began the reply in style, putting Ajmal Shahzad into the New Stand in the second over.
Hughes then pushed into the off side, set off but then stopped. Moore (13) was easily run out as Taylor lobbed the ball back to bowler Harry Gurney.
Luke Fletcher flattened Hughes’ middle stump, the left-hander falling for 17 and Patel had North (6) caught at widish long off, from the bowling of Patel.
Wayne Madsen and Gareth Cross bravely put together a stand of 103 in 8.5 overs , each hitting maximums – but the run-rate continued to rise rapidly, with more than 14 an over needed from the final 5 overs.
Madsen reached his 50 (27 balls 5x4 2x6) just a couple of balls ahead of Cross (36 balls 4x4 1x6) as the century partnership came up from 55 deliveries.
Taylor swooped low to end the stand, catching Cross (54) off Fletcher. Madesn’s fine innings came to an end as he picked out Jaques, off Gurney and then Alex Hughes (1) was run out by a fine return from Patel.
Shahzad got amongst the wicket-takers by bowling Palladino (0) from the final ball of the match, leaving Notts to celebrate their second win over East Midlands opposition in successive evening.
The victory lifts Notts up to fourth place in the North Group but winless Derbyshire remain bottom.
There is another double-header next weekend when the Outlaws travel to New Road to face Worcestershire Rapids next Friday evening before hosting Yorkshire Vikings the following day, Saturday 28th June (Trent Bridge, 2.30pm).