Alex Hales scores 64-ball century in Vitality Blast while Ben Stokes takes four wickets after injury scare

Alex Hales smashed the fifth T20 century of his career with 101 from 66 balls as defending Vitality Blast champions Notts Outlaws secured a seven-run win over Lancashire Lightning.

Hales struck 12 fours and four sixes as he dominated Notts’ total of 173-6 at Trent Bridge, with captain Steven Mullaney the next-highest scoring batsman with 25.

The opener completed a 64-ball ton with his fourth six as he rebounded from his first-ball duck against Derbyshire a day earlier.

  • Notts vs Lancashire scorecard

A simply sensational 360° ton from the man who bleeds Green and Gold, Alex Hales.#BeMoreOutlaw pic.twitter.com/K9B7Rb5L5v

Lancashire’s Steven Croft (41 off 30), Alex Davies (39 off 15) and Luke Wood (33no off 25) kept Lightning in contention in the chase but scoring 17 from the final over proved beyond the visitors, with Luke Fletcher conceding just nine runs.

Lancashire lost Finn Allen (2) in the second over of the chase but were then 58-1 in the sixth over before tumbling to 101-6 in the 13th with Notts spinner Matt Carter adding to his dismissal of Allen by also accounting for Davies – who smashed five sixes in a blistering cameo – and Rob Jones (5).

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Croft and Wood kept Lightning afloat but the former fell to Jake Ball in a six-run penultimate over and Fletcher did his job for the Outlaws in the final over.

Hales said: “T20 hundreds don’t come around very often and to do it in front of a home crowd was really special.

“It has been such a weird feeling to be playing in front of empty seats and I really struggled with that at times last year.

“I wasn’t my usual self today. I didn’t play in the usual way. It was not a particularly easy pitch to score on early on with very steep bounce and you needed 10 or 15 balls to get used to it.”

Lancashire star Croft added: “The difference between the teams was Hales, really. In T20 you don’t usually get someone staying around and he kept the board ticking all the way through, which was something we didn’t have.”

0⃣3⃣ overs
0⃣4⃣ wickets
2⃣7⃣ runs.

Quality from @benstokes38 today 🔥🟡🔵#ForTheNorth pic.twitter.com/9T4rpsgdwN

Elsewhere, England all-rounder Ben Stokes shrugged off treatment for a hurt finger to take 4-27 for Durham – after scoring 35 with the bat – as his side beat Birmingham Bears by 34 runs.

  • Birmingham vs Durham scorecard

Stokes received his treatment while batting amid a 20-ball innings in which he hit three sixes and two fours as Durham posted 164-8 after being 9-2 – captain Cameron Bancroft top-scoring with 60 from 45 balls

Stokes then dismissed Sam Hain (2), Matthew Lamb (39), Michael Burgess (10) and Tim Bresnan (2) as the Bears were rolled for 130 inside 19 overs in reply.

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