Some extraordinary hitting from Alex Hales helped Nottinghamshire Outlaws to kick off their NatWest T20 Blast campaign with a convincing eight wicket victory over the Birmingham Bears at Trent Bridge.
The England one-day international was in irresistible form as he raced to an unbeaten 86 from only 43 balls, hitting 5 fours and 8 sixes as his side cantered to the win with 33 balls to spare.
Birmingham had posted 141 for seven after being invited to bat first, with skipper Varun Chopra making 80 from 61 balls but his side struggled against a disciplined bowling unit, led by Luke Fletcher, who took three for 24.
The Bears, who triumphed in 2014, had no answer to the onslaught served up by Hales after the interval, although his opening partner, Riki Wessels, had fired the first shots in anger by racing to a quickfire 30 out of an opening stand of 42.
Hales then took over, with the 26 year old, who will jet off to India this weekend for a brief stint with the Mumbai Indians, bowing out in devastating style as he plundered sixes from six consecutive deliveries faced, spread between the twelfth and thirteenth overs.