Cricket: Notts outlaws make a winning start in Caribbean sun
NOTTS Outlaws claimed a comfortable 92-run victory over Northants Steelbacks in the first match of their Barbados tour at the weekend.
Outlaws, who had been due to play a Barbados X1 at the 3Ws Oval in Bridgetown, hit 172-6 and then bowled out the opposition for just 80.
England T20 internationals Alex Hales and Michael Lumb got Notts off to a sound start with an opening stand of 87. Then James Taylor weighed in with 46 not out off just 34 deliveries.
Notts' director of cricket Mick Newell said one of the most pleasing things about the demolition of Northants was the way the two openers weighed the wicket up quite well.
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"The four overs of quick bowling that Northants sent down they took for 68, which is quite remarkable in a game that was quite low-scoring outside of those overs," he said. "All credit to Hales and Lumb for spotting the opportunity and then Taylor played very well."
After Chris Read had chosen to bat, Lumb and Hales got underway with impressive shots off David Willey.
The initial six-over power-play produced 81 runs, which included six maximums. But Lumb finally fell for 33 off 20 balls, bowled by one from Matthew Spriegel that kept a little low.
Northants then struck back in impressive fashion with three wickets in the space of six balls.
Hales was given out lbw to Con de Lange. His 53 had come from just 30 balls.
Riki Wessels (2) and Steven Mullaney (0) both fell in the same over from James Middlebrook and it soon became 113-5 when Read was run out for eight at the bowler's end after a deflected shot from Taylor.
Sam Wood (7) was taken at point by the diving Wakeley, off Rob Keogh but the same bowler was then clubbed for a four and three sixes by Taylor in the 19th over.
New signing Ajmal Shahzad didn't take long to get his first wicket for Notts, when he had Steven Crook caught in the deep by Steven Mullaney.
New man Alex Wakeley was then run out without scoring after a superb direct hit from short fine leg by Andy Carter.
Carter then got in on the act again, yorking Rob Newton (17) and Ben Duckett for a duck in his next over.
Notts then turned to the spin of Graeme White and Sam Wood and they combined to deadly effect. White finished with 4-10, while Wood's four overs brought him 1-14.
David Willey (8) hit Mullaney for six but then fell next ball and it left 14 deliveries unbowled as the Outlaws celebrated an emphatic victory.
The victory set up a Barbados t20 Cup semi-final clash with Yorkshire Vikings, which took place yesterday evening and Notts sealed a five-wicket win.
Yorkshire batted first and ended with a total of 128-7, with Jake Ball, Wood and Mullaney all claiming two wickets apiece for Notts.
They were troubled early on in their reply, scoring just 46-3 off their first nine overs but Taylor again took charge with Mullaney and the pair brought up their 50 stand off 49 balls, the breakthrough finally coming in the 15th over for Yorkshire when Taylor was dismissed, Notts 87-4.
When Read came to the crease, Notts needed 41 from the final 33 balls to book a place in the final.
Read was run out by former Trent Bridge team-mate Ryan Sidebottom to set up a tense finale, Notts requiring 23 from the final 15 balls.
But Mullaney brought up his half century and back-to-back boundaries saw Notts to a five-wicket victory with seven balls to spare.
It set up a final with Derbyshire, which was taking place into the early hours of today (GMT).
Meanwhile, England bowling coach David Saker believes Nottinghamshire's Stuart Broad is over his injury hell – and getting back to his best on the international stage.
Broad was the pick of the bowlers when he took 6-51 at the weekend during the second Test in New Zealand.
The match ends today but yesterday, England's bowlers were collectively short of their best as bad weather and a bland pitch conspired against them at the Basin Reserve.
James Anderson's dismissal of Peter Fulton was the tourists' only success as rain limited day four to 34 overs and, with more downpours forecast today, made a second successive stalemate against New Zealand by far the likeliest outcome.
Broad was back to his best since the pain abated in his left heel after forcing him home early from England's Test tour of India in December.
"He obviously struggled in India with an injury, and it is testament to the medical staff to get him back," added Saker.
"He had an injury that could have lasted a lot longer than it did.
"He's come back, looked good yesterday ... and his pace has been really encouraging."