Hales finds the right formula
A hard-hitting 62 from Alex Hales sped Notts Outlaws to the Friends Life t20 quarter-finals via a six-wicket victory over Yorkshire Vikings at Trent Bridge.
Hales scored his runs from just 38 deliveries faced, with four fours and five sixes, as the Outlaws raced to their target after Yorkshire, who opted to bat, had posted 132 for seven.
The early stages of the contest were dominated by Notts' Samit Patel, who finished with bowling figures of 3-17.
Standing at second slip, Patel dropped Adam Lyth from the first ball of the match as the left-hander flashed hard at Harry Gurney.
The all-rounder quickly made amends. His first delivery, at the start of the second over, clean bowled Alex Lees, who was making his format debut for Yorkshire.
Patel then also removed Dan Hodgson and took a well-judged catch in the deep to send back Gary Ballance off Graeme White.
Lyth played on to Jake Ball for 23 and Ballance made 30 but, after their departures, Richard Pyrah took the fight to the Outlaws; he hit 42 from just 25 balls, with six fours and one towering six off Ian Butler.
A mix-up saw Jack Leaning run-out for just four and another debutant, Will Rhodes, was bowled by Gurney for 13.
Notts lost both Michael Lumb and Patel early in their reply yet Hales was in imperious form, hitting Iain Wardlaw for two sixes in the fifth over after Lyth had also been struck high over the ropes.
David Hussey continued to rotate the strike, allowing the England international to play his shots. After bringing up his fifty from just 34 deliveries, Hales hit back-to-back maximums off Azeem Rafiq before holing out to Ballance looking for a third.
With the finishing line in sight, Hussey was bowled by Liam Plunkett for 28 but Riki Wessels and Chris Read saw Notts safely over the finishing line with 23 balls to spare.
The Outlaws head the group on net run-rate from Lancashire Lightning, whom they meet at Trent Bridge on Sunday to determine which side will have home advantage in the last eight.