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July 17, 2012
Nottinghamshire 231 for 4 (Taylor 74, Hales 70) beat Hampshire 230 for 7 (Vince 102*) by 6 wickets
Alex Hales hit a blistering half-century as Nottinghamshire continued their three-pronged assault on England's domestic trophies by cruising past group leaders Hampshire in the Clydesdale Bank 40.
Hampshire, for whom James Vince's magnificent unbeaten century served only to make them competitive, still top their group but now lead Notts, who have two games in hand, by only three points.
Hales and James Taylor, who struck 74 to take the hosts to the brink of their six-wicket victory, delivered telling messages to Hampshire's listless bowling attack ahead of next weeks' Twenty20 quarter-final between the sides. Hampshire's total of 230 never looked adequate once Hales cut loose.
Notts' skipper Chris Read opened with the slow left-arm of Samit Patel - as he did at Surrey on Sunday - and swiftly took two catches off his bowling to leave Hampshire in early trouble. Jimmy Adams thinly edged his first delivery while attempting a cut before Simon Katich nicked a temptingly wide delivery from Patel.
Sean Ervine's demise will have particularly frustrated Hampshire as he breezed to 31 before gifting a return catch to Graeme White. Dawson then clipped a half-tracker to Adam Voges to provide a cheap wickert for Darren Pattinson whose otherwise torrid afternoon saw him concede 48 in five overs.
Dimi Mascarenhas briefly added energy to Hampshire's innings, striking a huge six over long-on before being bowled by Andy Carter, but the only consistency was provided by Vince, whose impeccably-timed innings steadily built to a crescendo when he took 17 off one Pattinson over, before registering his hundred in the last over.
Vince was overlooked for last week's Championship match with Yorkshire and has not featured in four-day cricket since May. After carrying his bat with such maturity here, a recall will surely be in the offing.
Notts' response began briskly, Hales hitting successive boundaries off Kabir Ali in the fourth over and Dawson in the sixth. Hales appeared intent on inflicting a few mental scars on Hampshire's bowlers ahead of next week's quarter-final and reached his half-century in only the ninth over.
Riki Wessels, opening in Michael Lumb's absence with a back injury, struck three successive fours in a Dawson over that went for 19 but his ambition soon cost him his wicket, as left-arm spinner Danny Briggs trapped him leg before attempting a reverse sweep.
Briggs, who played in an ODI against Pakistan in Dubai in the winter, was achieving considerable turn and soon claimed the precious scalp of Hales, when he tamely chipped to Dawson at long-off .
Taylor and Patel, however, showed the application necessary to build on Hales' platform and brought up their 50 partnership in the 28th over. Patel then mounted a charge to the finish, hitting sixes in successive overs of Ali and Dawson, but eventually sliced to Katich at backward point.
The patient Taylor only hit two boundaries in reaching 50 but then hit four in eight balls to make victory safe before offering a return catch to Katich.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough