With Samit Patel playing a starring role with bat and ball, Notts Outlaws got their NatWest T20 Blast campaign off to a winning start with a 33 run victory over Lancashire Lightning at Trent Bridge.

No-one has made more appearances, scored more runs or taken more wickets for Notts in this competition than Patel and he turned in another man of the match performance in his 99th outing for his home county. Patel top-scored with 56 from 41 balls to power his side to a total of 182-5, then picked up two crucial wickets on his way to a return of 2-25 as the visitors folded for 149 in 18.3 overs.

Michael Lumb contributed 39 and James Taylor a quick-fire 30 in the Notts innings and Steven Mullaney (3-46), Andy Carter (2-23) and Harry Gurney (2-25) more than played their part in a high-quality, all-round bowling performance to douse the Lancashire fire. The Outlaws side comprised Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, James Taylor (captain), Samit Patel, Riki Wessels, Chris Read (wicketkeeper), Steven Mullaney, Sam Wood, Ajmal Shahzad, Andy Carter and Harry Gurney.

On a sultry, sunlit evening a crowd of 10,971, plus a giant sponsor’s inflatable pig, swinging high from the roof of the New Stand, Notts’ began their quest for a maiden, domestic t20 crown. Batting first, after visiting skipper Paul Horton had won the toss and elected to field, openers Alex Hales and Michael Lumb were parted as early as the eleventh ball of the match.

James Anderson, who has such a fine first class record at Trent Bridge, showed his worth in the shorter format also by having Hales (6) caught at mid on as the batsman mistimed a pull high into the air.James Taylor set about Anderson in the fourth over though, giving his side some early momentum by hitting him for three consecutive boundaries through the off side.

Lumb wasn’t going to be left behind, lifting Kabir Ali over the ropes at deep square leg for the opening maximum of the campaign, then Taylor repeated the dose, later in the same fifth over.The left-hander then collected back-to-back sixes as Jordan Clark came into the attack but the over ended with Taylor (30 off 14) losing his leg stick as the powerplay ended at 65-2.

Lumb and Patel added 23 before Lancs struck for the third time (88-3), removing the opener for 39 (29 balls) as he hit round a delivery from Steven Croft.Of slight consolation to Lumb his score of 39 took him past Kumar Sangakkara, Shoaib Malik and Herschelle Gibbs into 18th place on the all-time list of t20 run scorers. 

Wessels, batting off the back of his whirlwind 158 in the recently-concluded championship match, wasted no time in reacquainting himself with the Fox Road Stand as he deposited a delivery from Stephen Parry halfway up it.

Patel then hoisted Wayne White high on the leg side, a trio of fielders converged on the ball but it was Anderson who got there, only to drop the diving attempt. Croft fired in a return and Wessels (25) was run out after looking for a second.

There was almost a further run out in the next over as Patel and Read found themselves at the same end but a poor throw from ‘keeper Jos Buttler allowed two leg byes to be taken instead. Patel reached his 50 (39 balls 5x4) at the start of last over, punching a White full toss down the ground. He lifted the third ball over long on for six but perished next ball, attempting a repeat, with Croft clinging on to a wonderfully-judged catch inches from the rope.

Read (17 not out) and Mullaney (1 not out) were together at the end with 182-5 on the board.Karl Brown and Tom Smith set about the chase, with Gurney and Shahzad sharing the initial bowling duties, conceding 21 from the opening 3 overs.

Shahzad’s switch to the Pavilion End didn’t begin well, Smith (13) hitting his first delivery over deep midwicket but a repeat attempt ended in his downfall, although in an unorthodox manner.He hoisted it to mid on but Taylor, inexplicably, dropped the straightforward chance. The batsmen gambled on coming back for a second but the alert and swift pick up and throw from Hales went like an arrow into Read’s gloves, who completed the dismissal.

The powerplay ended with the score on 42-1, with the Red Rose fully 23 behind where Notts were at the same stage but immediate acceleration couldn’t be found as Mullaney’s first over only yielded two further runs.Employing the same tactics as last season Patel was also introduced to take pace off the ball and went for only three in his opening over.

The pressure told immediately as Brown (25) then hit Mullaney into the safe hands of Wessels at long on. Buttler, playing his first t20 match for Lancashire, got off the mark with an extravagant scoop for four but then drilled one straight back at Mullaney who couldn’t hang on. The former Somerset man had played pivotal roles to knock Notts out of this competition in the 2010 semi finals and the quarters a year later. A reverse for four and a straight six off Mullaney indicated that he was in the mood to do it again but a well-judged catch by Lumb at long off ended his fun for 18.

Croft (19) was then bowled by Patel, with 101 still needed. The spinner effectively closed out the contest with a further scalp, his 100th for Notts Outlaws, as Horton tried a reverse sweep and only succeeded in popping the ball up to Shahzad at point. Jordan Clark hadn’t given up, he blasted 22 off a Mullaney over, including back-to-back sixes, which had begun with the wicket of White (7). Clark’s hitting prowess is becoming legendary – he hit six sixes in an over in a Second Eleven match last year.

Clearly the danger, Notts were glad to have him at the non-strikers with 41 needed from the last three overs. The equation got better for Notts as Carter demolished Ali’s stumps (5) to make it 142-8 (17.1) and then repeated the trick to effectively end the contest as Clark’s wonderful attempt bravely came to an end on 44 from just 20 deliveries.Gurney bowled Anderson (0) midway through the final over to clinch the win and send the Green and Gold hordes home happy.

The Outlaws are again in Trent Bridge action next Friday evening, when Worcestershire Rapids are the visitors.

Notts Outlaws NatWest T20 Blast Fixtures & Ticket Information

v Worcestershire Rapids – Friday 23 May 6pm BUY TICKETS 
BUY IN ADVANCE AND SAVE - discounts in place for all tickets bought before midnight on Thursday 

v Durham Jets – Friday 30 May 6pm BUY TICKETS
v Birmingham Bears – Friday 13 June 6pm BUY TICKETS
v Derbyshire Falcons – Friday 20 June 6pm BUY TICKETS
v Yorkshire Vikings – Saturday 28 June 2.30pm BUY TICKETS
v Leicestershire Foxes – Sunday 20 July 2.30pm BUY TICKETS

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