Notts Outlaws couldn’t emulate their success in last year’s final when they were defeated by Birmingham Bears in the North Group of the Vitality Blast.
Samit Patel, man of the match in last year’s showpiece match, top-scored for the Outlaws but their 152 for eight proved to be a little light as the home side reached their target with 3.4 overs to spare.
Patel scored 41, making his runs from 39 balls, with five fours, but the home side weren’t unduly troubled in romping to 156 for four, to complete a six-wicket victory.
Home skipper Grant Elliott won the toss and asked Notts to bat first, as he had done in both the group match and last year’s final.
The Outlaws lost three wickets in the opening powerplay, leaving them with an uphill battle to climb.
Riki Wessels was first to fall, picking out Adam Hose on the leg-side boundary, off Oliver Hannon-Dalby, for three.
Jeetan Patel then picked up two key wickets, within the space of three deliveries. Tom Moores also picked out the safe hands of Hose, for two, with Alex Hales being bowled for a quickfire 20.
From 27 for three, Notts looked to two of their most experienced campaigners to lead the fightback.
Steven Mullaney joined Patel in a stand of 42 but Hannon-Dalby, who finished with three for 30, removed the club captain for 24.
Dan Christian made 10 and Billy Root added 17 but the platform of 102 for four, from 13 overs, evaporated quickly once Patel had fallen to Aaron Thomason.
The home side began their innings in spectacular fashion as Ed Pollock hit the first two balls, from Patel, over the ropes.
Encouragement came for the Outlaws though, when the left-hander skied Christian’s first delivery and Moores pouched the offering.
Ian Bell was in no mood to relinquish Birmingham’s grip on the contest as he raced to a half-century from only 33 balls.
Notts briefly gave themselves a flicker of a chance when Harry Gurney dismissed Hose and when Mullaney removed Sam Hain – but Bell and de Grandhomme turned the screw emphatically with a match-winning partnership of 79 in only 7.2 overs.
Bell fell just before the finishing line, picking out Hales on the long on fence, off Fletcher. The former England man had made 54 from 37 balls, with three fours and two sixes.
De Grandhomme was left undefeated on 49, Elliott took his side to victory by hitting back-to-back boundaries.
Notts remain on 10 points in the North Group, with only three matches remaining – and will look to bounce back to winning ways when they host Yorkshire Vikings on Friday evening (start 6.30pm at Trent Bridge).
Notts Outlaws play their final Vitality Blast home group stage match of the season against Yorkshire Vikings on Friday from 6.30pm. Book in advance to save £4 off tickets by clicking here...