Notts Lose Opener To Northants

It was a disappointing start for former two-time winners the Notts Outlaws as they went down to a heavy defeat to Northamptonshire Steelbacks on the second evening of this season’s twenty20 Vitality Blast competition. It was the visitor’s first win at Trent Bridge in the short format, and it gave them two wins from two in the North Group. Saif Zaib and George Scrimshaw picked up three wickets each after the county had made a promising start before captain David Willey cracked a quick-fire 79 to see his side home with over six overs to spare.

Northants won the toss and put the home side into bat, and despite losing England star Alex Hales for six in the second over, Notts were looking good with 77 on the board after seven, due to some spectacular hitting from new skipper Joe Clarke and the debutant Jack Haynes. The fifty came up in the fifth over and Zimbabwean spinner Sikandar Raza conceded three boundaries in the seventh over. The pair continued keeping the scoring at the ten per over mark, and when Clarke cracked Ravi Bopara to the boundary, the hundred had come up in only 9.5 overs. Next over however, Clarke was caught off Zaib for a well-made 48 off 30 balls (6 fours & 2 sixes), and despite Haynes reaching his 50 off 28 deliveries, wickets started to fall regularly for the home county.

Haynes was also caught off Zaib for 51 (off 32), also hitting 6 fours and two sixes, and as the runs dried up only two other men reached double figures, Matthew Montgomery (11), and Lyndon James (10), as the Outlaws were bowled out for 154 in 19.2 overs. The tall Scrimshaw picked up 3 for 16 in 2.2 overs and Zaib had figures of 3 for 12 in three, having dismissed the two top scorers whose partnership had realised 95 runs off 52 balls. Dillon Pennington grabbed a wicket in the first over, but after that the South African Matthew Breetzke and England star Willey put together a stand of 102 in only 48 deliveries. Breetzke smashed three consecutive fours off Pennington, and 51 runs were put up in the space of only three overs. Willey pounded 4,4,6,4,4 off Olly Stone in succession, and his 50 arrived in 21 balls.

The Northants skipper then set about the spin of Calvin Harrison with four consecutive sixes, before being caught next ball for a blitzkrieg 79 off 34 balls. His innings included seven fours and seven sixes. From there, Breetzke and Bopara steadily picked off the runs, and when the former stroked a Montgomery delivery to the boundary, he had reached his fifty off 30 balls, and the visitors had won the game in only 13.2 overs of batting.

Meanwhile, the Nottinghamshire Second Eleven have made a fine start to their Championship aspirations with two victories from four games, and an 11-point lead at the top of the table. In their first outing against Kent, opener Benjamin Martindale and ‘keeper Tom Moores both made centuries in the Notts total of 443 for 6 declared. Martindale clubbed 23 boundaries in his 148, and Moores was unbeaten on 125 off only 121 deliveries, with 12 fours and six sixes. Freddie McCann and Tom Loten added 87 and 83 not out respectively in the second innings, but chasing 382 to win, the home side safely drew the game on 200 for 5. Spinner Fateh Singh picked up six wickets for the county. They then meted out a sound thrashing of near rivals Derbyshire by an innings and 340 runs.

Liam Patterson-White took four wickets for 12 runs as the opposition were bowled out for 129 batting first, with Loten and Saif Ali also picking up two wickets each. Notts then compiled a monumental 688 for 8 declared in their first innings. Loten and Sam King (116 not out with 19 boundaries), both made centuries, but the most spectacular knock came from Moores with 185 off 118 deliveries, in an innings which included 21 boundaries and nine sixes. Derbyshire were never going to make the county bat again and were dismissed for 219 second time around. This time Patterson-White took the honours with a remarkable nine wickets for 81 runs. They were also in mesmerizing form in the following game at home, trouncing Yorkshire by 412 runs.

Batting first, Notts totalled 377 for 9 declared, with half-centuries from Patterson-White, Loten, and Dane Schadendorf, and an impressive 99 from number eight batsman Luke Fletcher, an innings which included 12 boundaries and four sixes. The visitors managed just 245 in their first knock, with opening bowler James Hayes picking up three victims. Martindale was in imperious form in the second innings with 154 off 156 deliveries (23 fours and 2 sixes), and with Patterson-White adding a quick 83 off 73 balls, including five fours and six sixes, Yorkshire faced the unenviable task of chasing 575 runs to win the game. They were never in the hunt as they collapsed to 162 all out. Patterson-White (4 for 37), and Fletcher (4 for 26), did most of the damage for the county. Nottinghamshire then drew their next game with Warwickshire, managing to save the game at 204 for 8 in their second innings, wanting 301 to win. Openers Martindale (70), and McCann (53), put on 118 for the first wicket, before Toby Pettman played out time with a steady unbeaten 30 off 73 deliveries batting at number nine.

*Article provided by Hitesh Darji (Cricket Correspondent)

*Main image @TrentBridge Alex Hales was dismissed for just six.

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