Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire played out a thrilling tie as the Vitality Blast returned, while Liam Livingstone smashed 94 not from just 58 balls for Lancashire…
Defending champions Notts tie with Worcestershire
2020 champions Nottinghamshire Outlaws could only earn a tie against 2018 winners Worcestershire Rapids after collapsing from a position of dominance in a thriller in front of the Sky Sports cameras at New Road.
Joe Clarke (45 off 21 balls) and Alex Hales (31 off 18) pummelled an opening stand of 76 inside six overs as Outlaws made a superb start to their chase of 153 – Clarke hitting four sixes and two fours and Hales smashing three sixes and two fours.
🤯 TIE! 🤯
Notts can only score one run from the final ball as #WORvNOT ends all square 🌀🆚🦌
The Outlaws were coasting to victory at one stage but the Rapids launched a superb comeback 👏
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) June 9, 2021
Clarke, Hales and Ben Duckett (6) then fell in quick succession and Worcestershire kept things tight in the middle overs through spinners Moeen Ali, Ish Sodhi and Bret D’Oliveira – Ali dismissing Tom Moores (12) thanks to a superb diving catch from Ross Whiteley at deep midwicket.
Notts were still red-hot favourites at 140-5 with four overs to go but three quiet overs left them needing five runs from Josh Tongue’s last and they scored just four, with Peter Trego only able to hack away a single from the last ball before he was run out looking for a match-winning second run.
Tongue had run out Luke Fletcher with his boot earlier in a final over in which he conceded just three singles and a leg bye and which ended with Notts on 152-8.
Worcestershire celebrated wildly at the end of a game which Nottinghamshire pretty much dominated, including when they reduced the Rapids to 26-3 inside four overs, with Moeen (6 off 5) one of the batsmen to fall, bowled by Matt Carter (2-22)
Jake Libby (52no off 43), Whiteley (42 off 35) and Ed Barnard (10 off 3) lifted Worcestershire up to 152-6, a total Nottinghamshire – who beat Surrey in last year’s final – could only equal after faltering with the bat following an explosive start.
Livingstone powers Lancashire to victory
Livingstone’s superb knock saw Lancashire Lightning to their target of 169 against Derbyshire Falcons as they won by six wickets at Emirates Old Trafford.
Opener Livingstone shared half-century partnerships with New Zealander Finn Allen (29 off 13 balls), England’s Jos Buttler (30 off 28) – who was playing his first game since hitting an IPL hundred on May 2 – and captain Dane Vilas (15 off 15) as the hosts reached their target with three balls to spare in front of around 4,000 fans.
Derbyshire had posted 168-7, with former Lancashire man Luis Reece (59 off 32) top-scoring and Wayne Madsen retiring not out with a suspected hamstring injury after he was hit by the ball as he dived to make his ground.
Home leg-spinner Matt Parkinson snared 3-28 from his four overs, while Livingstone also impressed with the ball, bowling Falcons captain Billy Godleman for a duck in the first over en route to economical figures of 1-22 from four overs.
With the bat, Livingstone struck 10 fours and two sixes and reached his half-century from 36 deliveries, while Buttler hit three fours before he was caught on the reverse sweep at third man off the bowling of Reece (2-26).
Essex, Kent win in South Group
Jimmy Neesham’s explosive 53 from just 25 balls ensured Essex Eagles started their campaign with a three-wicket win over Somerset at Taunton.
— Essex Eagles (@EssexCricket) June 9, 2021
New Zealander Neesham hammered seven fours and two sixes as 2019 champions Essex reached their target of 186 with seven balls to spare despite having slipped to 15-2 in 2.1 overs.
Neesham hit three fours and a six in the 15th over, bowled by leg-spinner Max Waller, and by the time he became one of two victims for Marchant de Lange in the 18th over, Essex – for whom Paul Walter scored 45 off 30 balls – were well on their way to victory.
Somerset posted 185-7, with Australian Chris Green striking three sixes in an unbeaten 43 from 30 balls late on after James Hildreth thumped 39 from 18 deliveries, including six fours and two sixes, from the opening berth, and Essex seamer Sam Cook bagged 3-14.
Kent Spitfires, meanwhile, secured their first victory of the season in any format with a 38-run triumph over Hampshire Hawks at Canterbury.
🔥 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐫-𝐛𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐓𝟐𝟎 𝐟𝐢𝐠𝐮𝐫𝐞𝐬 🔥
— Kent Spitfires (@KentCricket) June 9, 2021
Kent – who have drawn five and lost three of their eight County Championship fixtures – carded 176-6 with their top three of Joe Denly (44 off 23), Daniel Bell-Drummond (42 off 23) and Ollie Robinson (48 off 36) making fine contributions.
Hampshire leg-spinner Mason Crane claimed 3-23 but his efforts came in vain with the Hawks only able to reply with 138-9 as Kent seamer Fred Klaassen picked up 4-32.
James Vince (34) and D’Arcy Short (29) had put on an opening stand of 51, only for the middle order to crumble, with No 4 Joe Weatherley (37) the only player to make double figures.