Half centuries from Tom Moores and Joe Clarke, plus a spectacular bowling performance from Matt Carter, set Notts Outlaws on their way to a convincing 71-run win over Birmingham Bears in their Vitality Blast meeting at Trent Bridge.
Moores scored 69 from 38 balls and Clarke hit 50 from 40 balls as Notts totalled 184 for four, after winning the toss and choosing to bat.
One of the wickets was taken by Olly Stone, on his return to county duty after being released from England’s Test squad.
Birmingham lost the dangerous Ed Pollock to Carter early on and didn’t really recover. The 23-year old off-spinner followed up with the wickets of Michael Burgess and Adam Hose to record figures of three for 14.
The Bears were eventually bowled out for just 113 in only 17.3 overs. Luke Wood backed up Carter well, taking three for 16.
Birmingham struck the first blow of the evening, having Alex Hales caught at mid-on for 10 in the third over, by Henry Brookes, two balls after he’d been put down by Liam Banks at midwicket.
Clarke counter-attacked in style, playing the most glorious of drives off Fidel Edwards to move his own score to 16.
Stone was lifted high over the deep midwicket fence by Ben Duckett but then bounced back to bowl his former Northants team-mate for 13.
Liam Banks had spilled Hales and then put down Moores, off Will Rhodes, when the left-hander was on 16. Clarke reached his fifty with a six off Ashton Agar but then perished two balls later, having hit five fours and a six.
Moores also brought up his half century with a six and continued to push hard, hitting Jeetan Patel for two more maximums from successive deliveries.
A well-judged boundary catch by Rhodes eventually saw the back of Moores, who plundered six sixes in total, but Dan Christian and Imad Wasim took the total beyond 180.
Carter fired a delivery through the defences of Pollock in just the second over and the chase floundered from an early stage.
Only 37 runs came from the powerplay overs as the Bears fell alarmingly behind the run-rate. Imad Wasim, playing his 150th match in this format, picked up two for 21.
Sam Hain made 29 and Rhodes hit 27 but after their departure the end came quickly, with the final five wickets falling in 3.4 overs.
THE TURNING POINT: Matt Carter bowled one through Ed Pollock’s defences early in the Bears’ chase and they couldn’t recover.
SHOT OF THE MATCH: Joe Clarke’s straight drive from a pacy delivery from Fidel Edwards will live long in the memory.
UNSUNG HERO: Matt Carter, with career best figures of three for 14, made sure it wasn’t going to be a late finish in Nottingham.
WHAT’S NEXT: Notts Outlaws are back in action within 24 hours as they head to Manchester to face Lancashire Lightning at Emirates Old Trafford on Saturday evening. Birmingham Bears also have to travel north for their next fixture, a Sunday afternoon appointment against Yorkshire Vikings at Emerald Headingley.