Alex Hales hits century as Nottinghamshire cruise to win over Warwickshire in Royal London One Day Cup
Alex Hales and Dan Christian helped Notts Outlaws kick off their Royal London One Day Cup campaign in impressive style with a nine wicket victory over Warwickshire Bears at Welbeck Cricket Club.
Hales blasted his way to 103 and hit seven fours and nine sixes in his 61-ball stay as Notts chased down their victory target in only 28.1 overs.
During the first part of the day, Dan Christian took the bowling plaudits for the home side, taking five for 40, as the Bears were bowled out for 220 in only 49.1 overs after being invited to bat first.
Ian Bell, given dispensation by the ECB to play in between Test matches, made 52 from 83 deliveries but there was little in the way of support for him, as last season’s runners-up made a stuttering start this time around.
Defending a modest total, the visitors ran into Hales and the in-form Riki Wessels, who were both at their hard-hitting best. The openers put on 164 in just 20.1 overs before Recordo Gordon picked up the only wicket to fall, having Hales caught at the wicket by Tim Ambrose.
Wessels reached his own 50 from 56 deliveries, with five fours and a maximum and he closed on 86 not out, with James Taylor making an unbeaten 24.
The Outlaws hadn’t used a home outground within Nottinghamshire since 1998, when they had last played at Worksop, and an enthusiastic crowd of around 2,000 turned out to wish them well in their venture.
Earlier, the Bears were put under pressure after a fortuitous incident broke their opening partnership. A drive by Bell was deflected by the bowler, Luke Fletcher, onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end and Jonathan Webb was adjudged to be short of his ground.
Christian’s first over, when he entered the attack, didn’t give any indication of what was to come, with four ill-directed leg side wides contributing to the total.
From then on, the 32-year took centre stage with his medium-fast swing bowling and he picked up wickets in each of his next three overs. Tim Ambrose was caught behind by Chris Read and then both Rikki Clarke and Laurie Evans were taken in identical fashion by Alex Hales at second slip.
Ian Bell and Chris Woakes mounted a fightback, adding 63 for the fifth wicket before Christian returned to remove them both.
Bell had reached his 50 from 82 balls, seven of which were hit to the boundary boards but he then perished tamely to his next delivery, after picking out James Taylor at point.
Woakes, who had played one match in recent weeks for Nottinghamshire’s second string on his recuperation from a knee injury, made an impressive 36 before playing all around a full-pitched delivery.
Keith Barker hit a lusty 27 and Ateeq Javid contributed 33 but the total always seemed well below par and the Bears even failed to bat out the final over, with Jake Ball dismissing Josh Poysden for his second wicket.
Ball, a product of the Welbeck club, finished with figures of two for 47, with Fletcher taking one for 36 and Gurney one for 43.
Notts will stage the second part of their ‘Welbeck Weekender’ on Sunday when they host Glamorgan at the same venue.