The forecast was bad and then the forecast was good and then the forecast was uncertain, but on the day itself the sun shone on Trent Bridge. Hosting a family fun day on a summery Sunday afternoon, Nottinghamshire effectively charged just £1 for tickets to see a fair portion of the England bowling line-up, and one member of the Aussie attack, play cricket.
It’s hard to argue with the value but, as the hosts were sporting the majority of the international talent, it seems only fitting that they took the spoils. Yet it wasn’t any of the big names who made the difference for the hosts; it was the county players who did most of the hard work and kept Nottinghamshire in the Royal London One-day cup.
Stuart Broad, Alex Hales, James Anderson and Jake Ball were all in decent form today, but they weren’t the only ones worth watching. There’s plenty of talent to be enjoyed in the county game every week, not just on the odd occasion when the England players come home.
Michael Lumb impressed with his power at the top of the Outlaws’ batting order and young Haseeb Hameed was confident and calm in the middle of the Lancashire one.
It was Lancashire’s Karl Brown and Alex Davies that got the day started, with an excellent partnership of 98 runs that needed Broad to break it up. The Australian international, James Pattinson then chipped in with a couple of wickets of his own, showing his immense speed against a somewhat bewildered Davies who he removed lbw for 45.
The wickets, and the bowling of Broad and Pattinson, sharply pulled Lancashire’s run rate down and their batting plateaued for some time. It was the 20 year old, born and bred Lancashire lad, Hameed that pulled the side through to a semi-decent total of 260.
Coming in at three, it took the Bolton lad a little while to get moving, but he steadily started to build the innings. Perhaps realising Hameed was getting too comfortable, the Outlaws brought the speed of Pattinson back into the attack.
It didn’t work. Hameed was well settled into his game at this point, pushing the ball around, seemingly unconcerned by who was bowling at him. His partner McLaren, having started carefully, decided it was time to take his foot off the brakes and the two started to make the innings into something defendable.
Hameed had faced Ball, Broad and Pattinson during his innings yet finished unbeaten on 75.
Having to face an England bowler with only one England batter in their contingent, the Outlaws probably expected to lose a few wickets to Anderson. In fact, they lost just one and, fittingly, it was that of said England batsmen Hales.
The bulk of the damage to the Notts batting was done by a 21 year old Preston boy, Danny Lamb. A debutant for Lancashire today, he took two of the three wickets that fell, removing the incredibly dangerous Lumb and Riki Wessels. While Anderson got the bigger cheer, Lamb had the bigger impact.
Lamb’s two wickets, and Anderson’s one, were all that was destined to fall for Notts today as a solid batting performance from two of their less explosive players took the side to a quality finish.
Workman-like, Samit Patel and Stephen Mullaney plucked runs from each of the visiting bowlers, showcasing a pile of fours and a few maximums that made the Trent Bridge crowd go wild. When Patel reached his century toward the end of the day, his cheer was bigger than any we’d heard for Broad earlier on. When the victory was taken, with a huge 6 down the ground by Mullaney, you’d have thought England had won the Ashes again.
Patel is a player that many would like to see in England colours again, and with good reason. Game after game he puts in quality performances with both bat and ball. I doubt there’s too many Notts supporters, however, who’d like to lose him to the national side. He’s much too valuable to the local one.
It’s always fun when, once in a while, players like Anderson and Broad come around; and there’s little doubt that Hales and Ball are quality players who deserve their England spots, but so long as there is talent like Hameed, Brown, Mullaney and Patel around, there is plenty to keep cricket fans happy every day in the county game.
With today’s victory for Nottinghamshire Outlaws, they are still in with a good chance to go through to the knock-out stage. Lancashire can still mathematically go through, but it’s looking much less likely for them.