Nottinghamshire scored the second highest score in List A history, 445-8, but almost saw it chased down by Northants, who made 425 before being bowled out 20 runs short on a simple remarkable afternoon’s cricket at Trent Bridge that saw 870 runs scored.
Michael Lumb and Riki Wessels shared an opening partnership of 342, a record for any wicket in England, as the hosts cruised past 400 for the first time in county history, eventually posting a total second only to Surrey’s 496 back in 2007.
Adam Rossington hit 97 off 69 but, with Northants constantly losing wickets, it appeared a forelorn chase until Rory Kleinveldt came in at number seven and smashed 128, his maiden one-day century, off just 63 balls to keep Northants’ hopes alive.
Remarkably, needing nine an over from the outset, they kept up with the rate throughout, the injured Richard Levi coming in at 11. He was the last man out, however, as Northants were bowled out with 10 balls remaining, themselves passing 400 for the first time.
The match aggregate of 870 runs was the second highest of all time, only two shy of ‘that’ South African v Australia game when South Africa successfully chased 435.
That remains the world record chase, but at one point it looked like it might be going too.
The first half of the game was dominated by Lumb and Wessels’ record-breaking stand. Lumb’s 184 was the highest score by a Nottinghamshire batsman, whilst Wessels ton was a career best. The pair made light work of anything Northants’ threw at them, taking their time to begin with, 58 coming of the first ten, but at the 20 over stage the hosts were still in cruise mode on 122-0.
It was at that point, the traditional quiet middle overs, that the pair exploded. Lumb had hogged the strike in the early overs, so much so Wessels’ contributed four to the first 50 runs, but once he got to a 55 ball half century, the former Northants man sprung into life.
Together the pair added 224 in the second 20 overs, with few chances of note except a couple of run out attempts and balls flying near to fielders, but it was about as perfect a one-day partnership as you could wish to see – the third best of all time for any wicket.
Lumb went past Paul Johnson’s 167, Notts’ previous best, but the stand was eventually broken in the 40th over with Wessels’ guiding Steven Crook straight to short third man, his 146 coming off 96 balls.
Lumb soon followed, falling 14 short of a double century when he tried to ramp Sanderson.
Notts rather scrapped their way through the final ten overs, losing their last seven wickets for 73 runs, Dan Christian and Brendan Taylor with cameos of 29 and 21 respectively but otherwise no other Outlaws batsman made double figures.
It looked like their score would be well beyond Northants’ reach. Already a tough task, it was made to look almost impossible by Richard Levi having injured a shoulder in the first innings. Yet Adam Rossington and Josh Cobb signalled the visitors’ intent to give it a go with an opening stand of 68 inside seven overs.
They kept up with the rate throughout, but regular wickets set them back: Cobb followed by Ben Duckett and captain Wakely.
Rossington went to a 33 ball half century. Rob Keogh kept him company with a breezy 27 off 18 but again lacked the meaningful contribution Northants needed.
Rossington kept going though and hit 10 fours as well as three early sixes, and appeared to be easing his way to a maiden century, only to hole out at deep midwicket off Steven Mullaney three short. Mullaney’s 2-68 off 10 were the only respectable figures on either side.
Rossington’s 69 ball innings had insured Northants were at least up with the required rate, however, and what followed was a truly remarkable innings from Kleinveldt, batting with groin and side injuries, with Keogh as his running mate.
The big South African showed his intent with two huge sixes off Dan Christian, the Notts’ captain’s one over costing 20, as he and Steven Crook took the chances of victory from the ridiculous to the possible.
Crook made 48 from 40 in a stand of 92, before he drove Gurney to cover, shortly after Kleinveldt had reached a 23-ball 50. Even Crook’s dismissal didn’t stop him hitting seven sixes in going to a 45 ball century, remarkable given his previous best in 135 games had been 55.
Kleinveldt’s brutality meant Northants were actually ahead of the rate, and the nerves were beginning to build. After the start of 92 for the sixth wicket 98 was added for the seventh, before Kleinveldt eventually holed out to deep midwicket, sub fielder Anuj Dal taking the catch.
By that stage the target was down to 50 off 38 balls and Northants in sight of the unthinkable. Graeme White soon followed, however, also holing out to Dal, who earlier in the day had scored a 50 for Notts 2s at Hinckley.
The chase finally looked over, but Sanderson and Azharullah cobbled 14 before the latter was run out, bringing Levi to the crease at number 11. He clubbed his second ball for six, and 21 were required from the final two, but Gurney had the final say, bowling Levi with a yorker to end a remarkable day, and sparkling celebrations of relief from Notts.