Alex Hales powered Notts Outlaws to a convincing six-wicket win over Northants Steelbacks at Trent Bridge, strengthening the hosts’ position at the top of Yorkshire Bank 40 Group A.
The opener scored 75 from 71 balls, hitting eight fours and two sixes. Set to score 206 for their eighth win in nine matches, Notts cantered to victory with 44 deliveries remaining to push Northants back to third place in the table.
Hales' highest one-day score of the summer was ended in unconventional circumstances, as he drove Kyle Coetzer's first ball of the season straight into the hands of Alex Wakeley at extra-cover. It was only Coetzer's third wicket in 100 one-day outings.
Earlier, Northants scored 205 for nine having elected to bat first, with Wakeley top-scoring with 59 from 52 deliveries with four fours and two sixes. For the home side, Jake Ball recorded figures of 3-33 with Ajmal Shahzad claiming 3-40.
The Steelbacks failed to get any momentum in their innings, losing wickets at regular intervals.
Apart from Wakeley, six other batsmen reached double figures without getting to 30. Opener David Willey twice cleared the ropes inside the first seven overs before becoming the first of Shahzad's victims, well taken by David Hussey on the long-on boundary for 29.
Cameron White helped Wakely add 59 for the fourth wicket but used up 52 deliveries in making 29 before prodding one of Steven Mullaney's off-cutters straight to Samit Patel in the covers.
The batting powerplay proved to be particularly costly for the visitors, with Shahzad removing both Steven Crook and Matthew Spriegel in a double-wicket maiden before Wakely lofted Ball to Mullaney as three wickets fell for six runs in just 10 deliveries.
Michael Lumb helped Hales get the Outlaws off to an explosive start, the pair adding 64 inside 10 overs. Lumb hit seven boundaries in his 36 but his departure and the subsequent run-out of James Taylor briefly brought the visitors back into contention.
Taylor, who went into the match with a tournament average of 114 this season, made only five before trying for a risky single to mid-on and falling to direct hit from Willey.
Patel made 37, in a stand of 81 with Hales, as the Outlaws bounced back from the disappointment of their midweek loss in the Friends Life t20 quarter-final.