Notts Outlaws confirm quarter-finals spot after Tom Moores top scores again

Lucille Clifton

Notts Outlaws confirm quarter-finals spot after Tom Moores top scores again

Nottinghamshire 168 for 8 (Moores 68) beat Leicestershire 164 for 8 (Mulder 83*) by four runs

Injury-hit Notts Outlaws confirmed their place in the quarter-finals of the Vitality Blast after defending a total of 168 for 8 to beat Leicestershire Foxes by four runs despite a career-best unbeaten 83 from 50 balls for the visitors by South African Wiaan Mulder.

Rishi Patel made 37 for the Foxes, who looked favourites after posting 70 for 2 in the powerplay but could not build well enough on that start as two wickets each from Imad Wasim, Shaheen Afridi, Matt Carter and Calvin Harrison restricted them to 164 for 8.

Wicketkeeper Tom Moores top scored for the Outlaws for the second match in a row with 68 from 40 deliveries to earn his side an away tie with Somerset as they bid to clinch a place at finals day for the seventh time.

Captaining for the first time after Steven Mullaney (side strain) was ruled out, Alex Hales won the toss and opted to bat first. As his first scoring shot sailed over the extra cover boundary for six he would have had hopes of leading from the front with a trademark Hales innings.

With Colin Munro and Samit Patel also (still) sidelined, the Outlaws needed something of that nature, but after a start bristling with intent Hales fell on 26 when he drilled a Michael Finan full toss straight to extra cover. Joe Clarke had already gone and Matt Montgomery was bowled without scoring as Roman Walker struck in his first appearance of the season.

A powerplay 52 for 3 became 58 for 4 in the seventh as Lyndon James was well caught at point. At 77 for 4 from 10, Moores got the scoreboard moving with four and six off Colin Ackermann but then Haseeb Hameed lost his middle stump to the excellent Tom Scriven (4-0-19-1).

Moores continued in the vein of his stand-out innings in Friday’s defeat to Birmingham Bears as he and Imad Wasim added 52 for the sixth wicket but the ball after Moores was dropped on the boundary on 57, Imad slogged Finan straight to wide long-on. Afridi perished first ball going down the pitch and Moores holed out in the penultimate over.

The Outlaws were again without Olly Stone as they sought to defend but though Afridi struck with his first ball as Foxes skipper Peter Handscomb chipped straight to mid-on he could not repeat Friday’s extraordinary four-wicket opening over and the Foxes were well placed at 70 for two from six, albeit with Patel gone, victim of a brilliant one-handed grab by Hales at wide mid-on.

Mulder was dropped at backward point off Jake Ball on 39 but leg-spinner Harrison kept the Outlaws in the game with two wickets for just two runs in the 10th, watching Ackermann give an easy catch to cover before bowling Lewis Hill behind his legs as the Foxes touched halfway at 92 for four.

Two wickets for Imad Wasim as the Outlaws spinners applied the brakes saw Louis Kimber and Nick Welch fall cheaply seeking to break the shackles and at 103 for 6, still 60 short and with 42 balls left, the Foxes were under pressure for the first time in the match, although a couple of good blows by Scriven and 15 in one over by Mulder off Harrison brought that down to 32 from the last 24 deliveries.

Yet only 12 runs off the next three with Scriven top-edging Matt Carter to short fine leg and a third catch for Hales on the run to remove Walker left 20 to get off the final over bowled by Ball, which Mulder opened with a six over backward point but ultimately proved five too many.

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