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Hales hits Worcestershire spirits

Worcestershire CCC

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Nottinghamshire Outlaws maintained their 100 per cent Yorkshire Bank 40 Group A record as Alex Hales made 72 from 41 balls in a five-wicket victory over Worcestershire Royals under the Duckworth/Lewis method in a rain-shortened match at New Road.

A whirlwind innings by all-rounder Gareth Andrew, who hit eight fours and two sixes in an unbeaten 62 from 34 balls, gave the home side what seemed to be a workable total of 132 for five in 16 overs.

Nottinghamshire were then set a reduced target of 127 and, despite losing Michael Lumb to a stunning catch by Thilan Samaraweera at short midwicket, they chalked up their third win in the competition.

The scenario was ideal for Hales to dip into his repertoire as a Twenty20 international player and he delivered exactly what Nottinghamshire wanted with eight fours and two sixes before he was caught at point off Moeen Ali.

Riki Wessels, who made 28, drove Brett D'Oliveira's first two deliveries, both full tosses, into the seating at long-on before Jack Shantry claimed his second wicket.

There was just a hint of pressure when Daryl Mitchell bowled Samit Patel in a nagging spell of medium-pace but Nottinghamshire had four balls to spare when Steven Mullaney pulled Andrew for the winning boundary.

When the game got under way at 4pm, the conditions could not have been more miserable as Worcestershire batted first on a cool, murky afternoon.

Moeen got them off to a blistering start with 28 in four overs - the left-hander pulling two sixes while taking 22 off five balls from Andy Carter but then making a tame exit when hoisting the seamer's next delivery to Ed Cowan at wide mid-on.

This proved to be a catalyst for collapse as Jake Ball, a nephew of former England wicketkeeper Bruce French, and Patel shared four wickets as Worcestershire added only 13 runs in the next five overs.

Patel underlined his value in this form of cricket with 2-8 in a three-over spell before rain took a further 75-minute chunk out of the match.

On the resumption Worcestershire made the most of the remaining 30 balls, plundering 80 runs in all as Andrew roughed up Patel's figures with 19 in an over and then took 24 off the last over from Mullaney.

Australian newcomer Michael Johnson chipped in 17 towards an unbroken partnership of 80 in 7.1 overs.

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