A FINE batting display from Ben Stokes was not enough for Durham Dynamos in their Twenty20 clash at Nottinghamshire Outlaws.
Instead, England Twenty20 opener Alex Hales’ fine form continued with the bat as he propelled the Outlaws back to the top of the Friends Life t20 North Group with a 41-run victory over the Dynamos.
The 23-year-old, fresh from his brilliant 99 against the West Indies on his home ground last weekend, hit 88 off 51 balls with four sixes and six fours, sharing a club record partnership of 142 with Riki Wessels for the second wicket.
Wessels himself made 53 and Michael Lumb 36 as Notts posted 210 for three in the first innings, Mitch Claydon picking up three for 34.
Durham lost early wickets and although Stokes (56) smashed four sixes from 32 balls, his dismissal by Darren Pattinson ended any hopes of a win for the visitors, who finished on 169 for seven.
Notts have developed a formidable home record in Twenty20 cricket in the past two seasons, based on defending heavy first innings totals.
They followed the recipe to perfection again with Lumb kick-starting the innings with a massive six over midwicket off Graham Onions, as well as thumping six boundaries, before he was caught by a diving Stokes at the start of the fifth over.
Hales was only on seven at that point with Lumb dominating the strike, but slipped into gear by sweeping Scott Borthwick for six as Hales and Wessels blazed 142 from 13.3 overs.
Durham’s night was summed up when Liam Plunkett was banned from the bowling attack after two head-high beamers to Wessels, who managed to pull both balls for four.
Needing to get a good start, Durham were restricted to one run off the opening over from Harry Gurney and saw Herschelle Gibbs run out after a mix-up with Phil Mustard, who fell in the next over to Pattinson.
Durham’s chances rested on the shoulders of the big-hitting Stokes, who briefly had the visitors up with the run-rate and reached his 50 with two straight sixes off Samit Patel, before his attempted paddle shot in the next over from Pattinson ended in the hands of short fine leg.
That ended any hopes of a win, with the result putting Notts back ahead of Yorkshire Carnegie on run-rate, both teams having nine points from six matches.