Nottinghamshire vs Warwickshire
The last year’s finalists of the T20 Blast were up against each other on Wednesday (July 4), the opening day of the 2018 season, but the final result was different from what transpired a year ago. Warwickshire tipped Nottinghamshire by eight wickets this time, with Ian Bell leading a 156-run chase with an unbeaten 82 off 57 balls at Trent Bridge. Sam Hain played the supporting act at No. 4, stroking 45 off 30 to polish the chase off with 2.4 overs to spare.
Earlier, Nottinghamshire had recovered from 68 for 5 in the 11th over, riding on Billy Root’s 33 and a couple of twenties from Steven Mullaney and Luke Fletcher lower down the order to build on Rikki Wessels’s 29-ball 41 at the top. 49 runs came in the last four over, mainly thanks to Fletcher’s big hits, but it wasn’t enough in the face of Bell’s class.
Brief Scores: Nottinghamshire 155/7 in 20 overs (Riki Wessels 41; Colin de Grandhomme 2-24) lost to Warwickshire 159/2 in 17.2 overs (Ian Bell 82*; Ish Sodhi 1-27) by 8 wickets
Northamptonshire vs Leicestershire
Ben Duckett’s 54-ball 96 wasn’t enough on a flat County Ground pitch in Northampton, as Leicestershire chased down a massive target of 219 in the last over to come out trumps. The chase was orchestrated around Colin Ackermann’s unbeaten 66 off 31 but what provided the much-necessary impetus to the chase was Ben Raine’s cameo of 7-ball 23 later, which included 2 fours and 2 sixes.
The hosts’ massive score also had contributions from Joshua Cobb and Alex Wakely, both of whom hit fifties, and the side had a chance to defend the total going to the last over, with 20 runs needed after Ben Raine had got out in the previous over. But Rory Kleinveldt conceded five wides off the first ball of the last over, and Ackermann finished it with a six.
Brief Scores: Northamptonshire 218/3 in 20 overs (Ben Duckett 96; Callum Parkinson 1-25) lost to Leicestershire 219/6 in 19.4 overs (Colin Ackermann 61*; Ben Sanderson 2-47) by 4 wickets
Essex vs Sussex
Unlike the other two teams batting first today, Sussex were able to successfully defend in Chelmsford and get their campaign off to a winning start. Laurie Evans (61 off 45) and Michael Burgess (56 off 23) took Sussex to 181 in the stipulated 20 overs, and then David Wiese registered a five-wicket haul to bowl Essex out in the last over. Jofra Archer also impressed with a fine three-wicket haul.
Opening batsman Varun Chopra led the chase with a 64 off 48 at the top, but a majority of batsmen failed to kick on, evidenced by how Tom Westley and Ashar Zaidi got out on 22 each, leaving Essex with no finisher towards the end.
Brief Scores: Sussex 181/6 in 20 overs (Laurie Evans 61; James Porter 2-26) beat Essex 145 in 19.4 overs (Varun Chopra 64; David Wiese 5-24) by 36 runs
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