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Wessels powers Outlaws to victory

An explosive 95 not out by Riki Wessels helped Nottinghamshire Outlaws to a 27-run victory in their NatWest T20 Blast match against Derbyshire Falcons at Trent Bridge.

After being invited to bat first, the Outlaws scored 206 for five, with Wessels scoring his runs from 51 deliveries, hitting 10 fours and four sixes, but ran out of time before he could score a first T20 ton.

The visitors could only reach 179 for seven in reply, with Wayne Madsen making 65 and Gareth Cross 54.

Wessels' runs topped off the most successful week of his professional career.

After gaining his county cap last Saturday, he scored 77 and 71 not out to help defeat Middlesex in the LV= County Championship, then added scores of 66 and 95 not out in successive evenings in the T20 Blast.

Fittingly, the highest score of his T20 career came in his 100th innings in the format. The 28-year old raced to a half-century from just 29 balls and paced himself with an innings that eventually became match-defining, after Nottinghamshire had lost both openers.

Phil Jaques had been bowled by Mark Footitt in the third over and then Alex Hales soon followed, despite hitting an enormous six onto the top of the pavilion, dismissed by Chesney Hughes' slow left-arm spin.

Samit Patel fell cheaply but a hard-hitting stand of 85 in 45 balls, between Wessels and James Taylor, provided the backbone of the Nottinghamshire innings.

Taylor and Chris Read perished in the late push for runs, leaving Wessels on the brink of a century. He began the final over on 94 but only faced one more ball, with Steven Mullaney ending the innings in style, clubbing Tony Palladino's final three deliveries for a four and two sixes.

Miscommunication between the Derbyshire openers enabled Taylor and Harry Gurney to complete an easy run out to remove Stephen Moore and Luke Fletcher then flattened Hughes' middle stump.

Marcus North holed out for only six but a stand of 103 in 53 balls, between Gareth Cross and Wayne Madsen, kept Derbyshire's faint hopes alive.

Both batsmen reached their fifty in the 17th over - Madsen from 27 balls with five fours and two sixes, and Cross from 36 balls with four fours and a six.

Cross then fell to Fletcher, who returned figures of two for 29 before Madsen's fine innings came to an end as he drove Gurney to extra cover.

The victory moved the Outlaws up to fourth spot in the North Group but defeat leaves the Falcons still without a win and at the foot of the table.

Notts had earlier announced that the New Zealand international all-rounder, James Franklin, would be joining them for their remaining group matches.

Wessels said afterwards: "It's just been an incredible week. I was so proud to get my cap and then to beat Middlesex like we did was unreal. Now two innings like this... perfect.

"I honestly wasn't thinking about the hundred but after Mull (Steven Mullaney) missed one in the last over, he said he would just get me back on strike, then he hit a four and two sixes, so I can't complain really."

Cross' efforts were in vain and he acknowledged: "It was a great innings from Riki, we know what a really good player he is, we just couldn't handle him tonight.

"That's the type of innings I think they want from me, when I'm pushed up to three in the order.

"We knew we'd have to play well to chase down their score and the two of us (Cross and Madsen) gave it a go but we'd left it a little bit too late. We backed ourselves but really we needed to go a little bit earlier."

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