Alex Hales hit the fifth T20 century of his career as the Outlaws continued to set the pace in the North Group with a seven-run win over Lancashire Lightning in the Vitality Blast.

The 6ft 5ins opener made an unbeaten 101 from 66 balls with 12 fours and four sixes, an outstanding performance given that only Steven Mullaney (25) was able to offer sustained support in an Outlaws total of 173 for six.

Steven Croft made 41, Alex Davies 39 and Luke Wood an unbeaten 33 to keep Lightning in contention. However, they finished seven runs short with Matt Carter taking 3-17.

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Put in, Notts chalked up 58 in the Yu Energy Powerplay, having lost Joe Clarke to a catch at mid-off before Sol Budinger was run out as Hales chanced a single to backward point.

Ben Duckett miscued a reverse sweep to Tom Hartley, but Hales cleared the rope off Matt Parkinson before completing his fifty with a freak four deflected off his perpendicular bat as he ducked a Luke Wood bouncer.

The Outlaws were 84 for three at halfway, before quickly losing Tom Moores and Samit Patel, each caught at mid-off.

Hales paused to check on the health of a spectator who got in the way of his second six, who happily signalled he was okay, before sweeping Parkinson for his third maximum.

Mullaney provided some assistance, he and Hales adding 69 from 35 balls, with the Outlaws’ immortal reaching three figures when his fourth six soared over wide long-on shortly before Mullaney was caught at long off.

Carter bowled Finn Allen with his fourth ball in Lightning’s reply and dismissed Davies with his ninth as Clarke took a catch balancing on one leg to stay inside the boundary, but between times Davies hit five sixes in a blistering 39 off 15 balls as he and Keaton Jennings added 52 in 23.

Lightning, 60 for two after six, saw Dane Vilas go leg before to Mullaney and Jennings caught and bowled by a diving Calvin Harrison, then Rob Jones was lbw to Carter.

After Lamb was run out, the visitors needed 58 from 36 balls but had only four wickets in hand.

Croft added 52 with Wood to give Lightning a chance, but went for a scoop against Jake Ball. Patel made no mistake at short third man and, defending 17, Luke Fletcher’s nerveless final over cost just nine as the Outlaws continued to set the pace at the top of the north group table.


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