7/1/2017 0 Comments
Alex Hales struck a stunning unbeaten century to guide Nottinghamshire to a four-wicket success over Surrey to become the first county to pick up silverware in 2017.
The England one-day opener struck 20 fours and four sixes on his way to a record-breaking unbeaten 187 as the Outlaws chased 297 to win the Royal London One-Day Cup on a warm day at Lords.
In front of a large Nottinghamshire following at the Home of Cricket, Hales shared 137 for the sixth wicket with Nottinghamshire stalwart and leader Chris Read to seal a memorable win for the Trent Bridge based county.
Having chased a mammoth 370 to reach the final against Essex a couple of weeks ago, the Outlaws wouldn’t have been too disappointed to be invited to bowl first by Gareth Batty at the toss.
But the Surrey opening pair of Jason Roy and Mark Stoneman appeared to have vindicated that decision to bat first by reaching 74-0 inside the first 10 overs. Roy, who has been struggling for form in recent months had his blushes spared after Riki Wessels dropped an edge from the first ball of the match at first slip. To further add to the frustration for the sizable Nottinghamshire supporters at Lord’s, Steven Mullaney dropped a sitter at extra cover of Stoneman after Harry Gurney invited the Surrey man into a lofty drive in the 8th over.
Despite this, the Notts bowlers couldn’t quite find the right line, with Luke Fletcher and Harry Gurney offering too much width outside the off stump, which was punished by the left-hander Stoneman in particular. It took Samit Patel to halt the Surrey pair when Roy attempted to play against the spin into the leg side; an outside edge found Mullaney at mid-off and the England man returned to the hutch with a breezy 23 to his name. Kumar Sangakkara looked set for a big score on 30 before he nicked a ball off Mullaney to Notts’ keeper Read, who was standing up to the stumps. Patel and Mullaney offered the most threat, as Scott Borthwick fell for 14 after playing a pull shot to midwicket of Patel. Wickets kept falling around Stoneman as Ben Foakes and 19-year-old Ollie Pope both went early, shifting the momentum to Notts as Surrey went from 83-1 to 180-5. Stoneman reached a glorious ton, finishing on 144*, to hold the innings together. Surrey though could only add 71 runs in the last 10 overs, finishing with 297-9.
Alex Hales was the star man with the bat for Nottinghamshire in reply; it could have been very different had Ollie Pope held onto a drive at extra cover when Hales was on 9 in the 2nd over. Sam Curran found the pads of Michael Lumb with a full and straight ball to fall leg before for 21. Wessels was next to go after Ravi Rampaul nipped one back into the right-hander down the slope for just 6. Hales carried on regardless, with little concern for the bowling figures of any Surrey bowler, with a collection of superbly balanced front foot cover drives when width was on offer. After Patel was caught at deep fine leg taking on a short ball, both Brendon Taylor and Steven Mullaney fell, leaving Hales and Notts skipper Chris Read in a precarious position with the score at 150-5. With immense calmness, a partnership was finally built, and by the time Read fell for 58, the match was all but won. James Pattison had the honour of scoring the winning run, handing the One-Day Trophy back to Trent Bridge for the first time since 2013, as Hales finished on 183*. It was a fitting tribute to soon retiring Notts skipper Chris Read, but give a thought to Surrey’s Mark Stoneman, who in a similar fashion to Hales played his part in a superbly captivating contest.
By Harry Hill (@HarryHill96)
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