An Alex Hales century and a four from the final ball of the match from Luke Fletcher helped Notts Outlaws secure a thrilling one-wicket Royal London One-Day Cup victory over Warwickshire at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.
Warwickshire, thanks to Jonathan Trott's century and Tim Ambrose's 98, posted 302 for seven from their 50 overs and Nottinghamshire needed a century knock from England newboy Hales to wrap up victory at the death.
The outcome means that both sides now qualify for the quarter-finals, although the win means that the Outlaws will have home advantage in their last-eight match, whereas Warwickshire will have to travel.
Trott scored 108 from 121 balls with 11 fours, and Ambrose hit 12 fours as he fell just two runs short of a ton, as the pair added 176 for the third wicket for the Bears.
Fletcher, with career-best one-day figures of 4-44, was the only member of the home attack to maintain a modicum of control and his final burst accounted for both members of the huge stand.
The burly seamer then took on the role of match-winner as he drove the final ball from Oliver Hannon-Dalby down the ground to secure a home quarter-final.
— Nottinghamshire CCC (@TrentBridge) August 20, 2014
Hales had set them on the path towards victory by crashing 104 from 90 balls with 12 fours and three sixes.
Apart from supplying further vindication for his England selection ahead of the upcoming Royal London One-Day International Series against India he proved his maturity in steering a long chase.
Hales shared a huge third-wicket stand as he and James Taylor, who made 62, added 138 together.
The match hinged on the final delivery of the evening, however, as Nottinghamshire lost their way in the batting powerplay – losing three wickets including Taylor – before Fletcher kept his cool with the scores tied to delight of the majority of the 4,000 crowd.
Trott and Ambrose had joined forces at 32 for two after Warwickshire had elected to bat first. Clipping his first ball away for a majestic four, Trott immediately looked in good touch as the partnership quickly gathered momentum.
Both players had reprieves though. On 12 Ambrose appeared to have nicked Ajmal Shahzad behind. Notts celebrated collectively but the batsman remained rooted and umpire Neil Bainton awarded in his favour.
Trott's life was more clear-cut. On 36 he clipped James Franklin to Samit Patel, in the short midwicket position but the chance went begging.
Ambrose fell during the batting powerplay, yorked by Fletcher but Trott advanced to his 17th one-day century shortly afterwards, arriving at the landmark from 115 balls with 10 fours.
— Warwickshire CCC (@CricketingBears) August 20, 2014
A catch at deep midwicket eventually accounted for the 33-year-old and Fletcher grabbed his fourth wicket thanks to a smart piece of wicketkeeping as Chris Read stumped Rikki Clarke, standing up to the pace bowler.
Michael Lumb lit up the start of the Outlaws' reply, hitting a punishing 36 from just 21 balls before playing on to his stumps off Clarke.
The same bowler then had Steven Mullaney caught behind, enabling Taylor to join Hales at the crease. Richard Jones replaced the opening bowlers and let a beamer slip towards Hales at the start of the 13th over, an over that eventually cost 16.
Taylor hit Recordo Gordon into the Fox Road Stand for the first six of the evening just before Hales reached his fifty and the opener celebrated by hitting both Jones and Ateeq Javid for maximums of his own.
Hales’ purple patch of form took him to his third century of this season's tournament and his fourth in all competitions in the past two weeks.
An unlucky deflection from his back pad onto the stumps saw off the opener gift Gordon a fortunate wicket but it gave the visitors a way back into the contest.
Taylor fell for 62 and Notts then lost two further wickets in the batting powerplay – Patel and Wessels - before the equation came down to 22 needed from the last two overs.
Gordon thought he had bowled Shahzad but replays showed that a no ball had been delivered and the resultant decision was costly as 18 came from the penultimate over.
Once Shahzad had been run out in the last over it was left to Fletcher to score the winning runs to take Notts through.