Dan Christian hit four consecutive sixes to set-up a comprehensive semi-final win for Notts Outlaws at Edgbaston. Dismayed and delayed by seemingly endless rain before a frenetic burst of preparation, the day’s first hurdle was cleared with 16 balls to spare.
Notts didn’t stray from their group stage formula, subjecting Lancashire to trial by spin with Imad Wasim, Samit Patel and Matt Carter brought to the fore. As the floodlights took over, a re-jigged batting line-up did little to disrupt the Outlaws’ flow, but Christian’s heroics turned likely victory into an all-out assault in the blink of an eye.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, Lancashire reached 32/1 at the end of a constricted 20-ball powerplay. Alex Davies was the sole Lancastrian faller, caught cleanly by Steven Mullaney off the bowling of Patel.
Liam Livingstone and Steven Croft frustrated Notts, adding 43 for the second wicket before Carter’s introduction and an impactful two-over spell. Carter finished with two wickets for the concession of 16 runs. His first over included a wicket, four dots, a six and a single as Livingstone slog-swept to Jake Ball.
Lancashire failed to retain boundary hitters for the death overs, a factor that proved telling in the reckoning. They failed to hit a single boundary in the final 19 balls of their innings with Keaton Jennings (13) and Rob Jones (6) finishing unbeaten but failing to accelerate their scoring. Steven Croft top-scored with 33, punctuated by sixes off Patel and Carter, but his presence was sorely missed later on.
Notts were quick out the traps with a new look opening pair featuring Ben Duckett aside long-term mainstay Alex Hales. While Duckett’s promotion was scripted as soon as the 11-over semi-final format was confirmed, Chris Nash did not bat having jammed his knee diving in the outfield. Dane Vilas’ second ball top-edge slid through Nash’s hand to deny him the chance to bow out in style.
The consistency of the Outlaws boundary hitting proved telling with consistently high strike rates easing any pressure. Lancashire retained some hope when Tom Hartley struck twice in an over. First, Tom Moores’ cavalier striking saw him caught by Dane Vilas and, three balls later, he clean-bowled Joe Clarke who had struck two brilliant sixes in his rapid 17. Christian could have finished the job but was stumped striding towards an exclamation point. Imad Wasim entered the fray to hit the winning runs without breaking sweat.
After the quickest of turn arounds, Notts will face Surrey in the showpiece final.