Notts Outlaws held their nerve to defeat Worcestershire Rapids at Trent Bridge and keep alive their hopes of retaining the Royal London One-Day Cup.
Defending a sub-par total of 202, the home side bowled out Worcestershire for only 164, to pull off an unlikely victory by 38 runs.
Luke Fletcher led the way with the ball, returning career best figures of four for 20 as the visitors were bowled out in 47.2overs.
Daryl Mitchell made 62 in the chase but far too many of his team-mates gifted their wickets away, as the defending champions kept a tight grip on the run-rate.
The loss was particularly hard on Moeen Ali, who also had his best day with the ball, with figures of four for 33 as Notts were bowled out for only 202 in 45.1 overs.
Riki Wessels, with 50, top-scored for the holders, who faced elimination had they been defeated.
Alex Hales, playing his first match of the season for his home county, after returning from Indian Premier League duty, made just 21.
Defending such a modest target the home side needed to make early inroads and were indebted to early bursts from Fletcher and Jake Ball which reduced the Rapids to 21 for three.
Ball cleaned up Ali with a candidate for ‘delivery of the day’ whilst Fletcher removed Joe Clarke and Callum Ferguson, who only made six after his 192 against Leicestershire on Tuesday.
Mitchell remained defiant, whilst partners came and went at the other end. Matt Carter followed up his four-wicket haul on debut this week, with the scalp of Ben Cox and fellow spinner Chris Nash picked up his first Outlaws wicket by having Ross Whiteley caught at mid-off.
Whilst Mitchell was at the crease Worcestershire appeared to be favourites but their hopes evaporated when he tamely chipped Steven Mullaney to midwicket.
Ed Barnard made 36 towards the back end of the innings but was last out, when bowled by Samit Patel.
Earlier, Notts struggled to build any momentum under cloudy skies. Openers Wessels and Hales added 44 from the opening powerplay overs but were then separated by Barnard, as the England international chopped on.
Ali’s first two victims fell in identical fashion after sharing in a third wicket partnership of 63.
Wessels reached his 50 from 51 deliveries but fell a ball later, bottom-edging onto his stumps and Ross Taylor did the same, after making 47.
Pace off the ball continued to work for the Rapids, with Brett D’Oliveira removing Patel and Mullaney in the same over during an excellent spell of two for 46.
Notts, normally a free-scoring side, failed to hit a single six during their innings and a youthful tail was unable to bail out the top order, with the final five wickets falling for only 38.
Mitchell also picked up two late wickets as the home side’s innings ended 29 balls early.
Worcestershire, who lost at the semi-final stage a year ago, now have eight points from six matches, whilst Notts have moved on to seven, from the same number of matches.
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