Hales brilliance gives Outlaws opening night victory

Hales brilliance gives Outlaws opening night victory

North Group: Nottinghamshire Outlaws 142/2 (Hales 86*) beat Birmingham Bears 141/7 (Chopra 80*; Fletcher 3/24) by eight wickets, at Trent Bridge

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Alex Hales blasted six sixes in six deliveries as part of his unbeaten 86 at Trent Bridge.

Hales-storm is a clever pun the first time it happens, sadly for any of the Outlaws’ oppositions; it’s becoming an all too familiar experience.

After the host team’s bowlers got them off to exactly the start they needed pinning the Bears to 141/7, Alex Hales was able to play his true game and put on something of a masterclass.

Nottinghamshires’s James Taylor called heads and won the toss opting to field and putting the Bears in to bat.

Setting a total of 141/7 would make most people wince on the premise that less than 150 on the board after 20 overs is under par but in this case, the Bears can at least consider themselves happy with their respective recovery.

The visitors found themselves 8/2 from just three overs – when the Nottinghamshire Outlaws made their way to the crease they struck 32-0 from their first three overs.

Luke Fletcher was the pick of the bowlers for Notts as he finished the match with three for 24 removing Tim Ambrose for 20, Rikki Clarke for just one run and the potentially dangerous Laurie Evans for 35 – all by removing their stumps!

The Bears’ innings ended in the worst way possible, when captain and top-scorer Varun Chopra found himself run-out the penultimate ball for 80 (from 61) by Stephen Mullaney. Keith Barker then came out for the final ball and in an attempt to inflate their score as much as possible went for the run but found himself run out as well.

This left the Bears on their sub-par effort, but considering they were 52/4 in the ninth over, 141 was a respectable score to get to – a score they wouldn’t have got to had Chopra and Evans not put on a partnership spanning ten overs and 77 runs.

Hales initially looked frustrated at the crease, at one point openly flinging his arms to his sides and kicking the dirt but ensured there would be no questions about his ability by smashing seven sixes almost on the bounce; missing just one ball that he faced and two balls that partner Samit Patel faced.

His 86 from 43 balls including five fours and eight sixes left the Birmingham Bears wondering what they could do to put a stop to incessant flow. Ateeq Javed and Boyd Rankin were brought on to stem Hales but became victims of the sixes storm ended with figures of 0-26 and 0-30 from two overs respectively.

Samit Patel struck the winnings runs and his only boundary off Jeetan Patel and Nottinghamshire polished off the required runs in just 14.3 overs; getting their campaign for the 2015 Natwest T20 Blast title off exactly as they planned.

Man of the match: Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire Outlaws): Hales’ explosive 86 from 43, including seven sixes in nine deliveries sealed the Bears’ fate and confirmed that Hales is capable of transferring his enviable batting skills from red ball to white ball cricket.

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