Samit Patel’s fluent 80 boosted Nottinghamshire’s hopes of victory on the third day of the Bob Willis Trophy match against Derbyshire at Trent Bridge.
The 35-year-old all-rounder scored 80 off 94 balls, sharing half-century stands with Joey Evison and Jake Ball, while Haseeb Hameed made 52 to take Nottinghamshire to 279 and set Derbyshire a daunting 365 for victory in four sessions.
The visitors responded well to the challenge with skipper Billy Godleman leading the way with an unbeaten 69. At the close they were 129 for 1 – 236 runs away from their victory target.
The target would have been much lower but for Patel, who played a pivotal innings for the second time in the match.
After Hameed’s patient and determined innings was ended, Notts were 235 runs on with three wickets remaining.
Steven Mullaney had started an overcast morning positively, pulling Sam Connors high into the stand over deep square leg, before he was caught at wide third slip trying to defend a good ball from Luis Reece.
Peter Trego steered Ben Aitchison to second slip and Tom Moores was hurried into a pull shot by Michael Cohen that Reece held running back from mid-on.
Hameed had been the glue that held the innings together and he fought hard to complete a second 50 of his Nottinghamshire debut.
He had played resolutely through 53 overs, but failed to get over a cut at Aitchison and was caught at gully, giving Derbyshire an opening Patel quickly closed with the assistance of Evison and Ball.
Godleman rotated his bowlers, but Patel calmly found the gaps and dispatched the bad balls as the lead passed 300.
Michael Cohen was driven, cut and pulled for three fours and the eighth wicket stand was worth 74 when Evison edged Aitchison to second slip.
The 18-year-old has made important contributions with the bat in both innings and Ball also played well for the second time in the game to help Patel add another 55 runs.
Patel drove Matt Critchley for a huge six over long-on, but the leg-spinner kept his nerve and trapped him lbw soon after – and the innings ended in the next over when Cohen had Ball caught behind.
That left Derbyshire chasing what would be their highest winning score against a county side, and they started strongly with Reece driving Ball down the ground for four and pulling him over square leg for six.
But when he whipped Trego to mid-on, Ball dived full length to take a fine catch.
It proved, however, to be Nottinghamshire’s last success of the day as Godleman and Wayne Madsen built a stubborn stand for Derbyshire’s second wicket.
When it comes to sharing the action from Trent Bridge this summer, our multi-camera live stream has got you covered. Watch live...