Joe Clarke produced a 77-run knock of the highest order to put Lancashire to the sword and re-affirm Notts Outlaws’ standing at the top of the north group table.
Clarke dispatched a dispirited Danny Lamb for 27 runs in an over as Notts fought back from the early loss of Chris Nash to reach the end of the powerplay with 74 runs on the board. Chasing 168 for victory, Notts showed patience and power in equal measure with Alex Hales (19) happy to play a run-a-ball supporting role as Clarke went through the gears.
The superlatives for Clarke’s impact on the game cannot be overstated. His 36-ball knock was chanceless until his flat off-drive found twelfth man Rob Jones patrolling the Radcliffe Road boundary.
Tom Moores (31* off 19) and Dan Christian (21* off 13) sought to outdo each other in a six-hitting distance contest that delivered range striking to all corners of the ground and locked-in the win with three overs to spare.
‘We’ll chase anything’ - the Outlaws’ well-trodden mantra – was deployed by Christian when he won the toss on a typically good Steve Birks pitch.
Opening pair Alex Davies and Liam Livingstone made a lightning-quick start, racing to 38-0 after three overs to test that mantra, but a stifling bowling performance saw Lancashire’s batsmen become increasingly frustrated as the contest wore on.
Imad Wasim put the brakes on their progress in his second over having struggled for accuracy with his opening arrows. The pair mustered only three singles to signal the beginning of a reversal of their run rate which had, very briefly, looked like getting out of hand.
The Pakistan international’s tight line and variation throughout his remaining overs underlined his prowess in the format, with nine dots recorded and only 23 runs conceded.
As is often the case at Trent Bridge though, it was Samit Patel’s left arm that reigned supreme. Lancashire failed to hit a single boundary from the stalwart all-rounder’s overs as his tradition of middle-over miserliness held firm. Liam Livingstone and Keaton Jennings were well held by Wasim and Jake Ball off Patel’s bowling.
Dan Christian had made the breakthrough in dismissing Davies, caught by Steven Mullaney at midwicket for 18. The Lancashire scorecard was one of unfulfilled promise as Livingstone (33), Jennings (33), Croft (37) and Vilas (31) all got out having got in. Their total of 167 was well short of par.
Notts and Lancashire sit atop the charts of serial match winners in county cricket’s T20 era. The records of the respective sides is deserving of a brief detour; Notts, with a win-loss record of 114-72 retain the second best record of the 18 domestic teams in the shortest format after this victory. Lancashire’s position at the top of the tree, with a win-loss ratio of 115-72, is now within touching distance.
The two teams are well set to emerge from the north group, and Notts will now seek to deny Lancashire top spot and overhaul their all-time record in the process.
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