Durham kept their Royal London One-Day CUp qualification hopes well and truly alive with a stunning victory at Trent Bridge against a Notts team that fielded four internationals, chasing down their target of 298 in the final over despite a brilliant century from Alex Hales in the first innings.
A 104 from Hales and a 66 from Billy Root weren’t enough to overcome visitors Durham on Thursday in the day-nighter at Trent Bridge.
It was looking a long shot for Durham when they were 8-2 at one stage, but fought back defiantly to ensure the two points were heading back to the north east.
Keaton Jennings won the toss and elected to bowl first and Durham made the perfect start – Chris Rushworth getting rid of the dangerous Michael Lumb in the first over caught by James Weighell at point for one.
Riki Wessels soon followed but it was to be the Hales show in the first innings, who dug in when wickets were falling around him. The England opener rode his luck, but played fluently enough to bring up his 15th List A ton, before finally falling caught in the deep to Weighell.
Root and Chris Read (61) struck a 100-run partnership and didn’t allow the Durham bowlers to settle in the latter half of the innings, but Mark Wood (3-62) took three wickets in the final over to restrict the home side to 297 all out. Weighell was also in the wickets, taking 3-66.
In reply, Durham got off to a disastrous start when captain Jennings edged Jake Ball to point without scoring and Michael Richardson soon followed when Ball induced an edge to Wessels at slip.
It was then the inexperienced duo of opener Graham Clark and 21-year-old Cameron Steel, in his first season at Durham, who guided Durham up to beyond 150 that placed the visitors firmly back into the game.
Clark missed out on his first List A century by eight runs when he was harshly adjudged lbw to James Pattinson, and when Steel soon followed him for 77, Durham looked like they had a mountain to climb.
But the evergreen Paul Collingwood dug his heels in and made it hard work for the Notts bowlers to settle again, and continued to battle hard along with Ryan Pringle, Paul Coughlin and finally Stuart Poynter.
At the end, the Irish wicket-keeper Poynter proved the ideal partner for Collingwood, taking his singles where he could but when he launched Gurney into the stands for six in the 48th over, Durham became the strong, albeit unlikely, favourites.
Collingwood wrapped it up on 73 from 47 balls with a crushing four to the fence through the covers to seal what was quite a remarkable victory from Durham, who now sit second in the group only on net run-rate to Worcestershire who are third.
Notts on the other hand are fourth on six points, both teams with two to play.