Nottinghamshire edge Durham in high-scoring encounter
Nottinghamshire 186 for 4 beat Durham 175 for 5 by 11 runs
A controversial turning point helped Nottinghamshire consolidate top spot in the northern group of the Friends Provident Twenty20 Cup as they defeated Durham by 11 runs at Chester-le-Street.
Chasing the visitors' 186 for 4, Durham were 134 for 4 when Dale Benkenstein pulled the first ball of the 16th over to deep square leg. Alex Hales held the catch off Darren Pattinson but staggered backwards over the rope and threw the ball back into play before regaining his balance to complete the catch.
After much deliberation, Benkenstein took it upon himself to accept Hales' word he was still inside the rope when he threw the ball up. The batsman departed for 40 and although Durham, on 158 for four after 18 overs, were two ahead of Nottinghamshire's score at the same stage Ryan Sidebottom virtually settled it by conceding only five off the 19th over.
Phil Mustard and Ian Blackwell had 39 on the board after three overs of Durham's reply, with Blackwell pulling two sixes in his 23, although the second should have been caught by Samit Patel on the backward square leg boundary.
Benkenstein was also badly missed on 17 by Pattinson at long-off and would have been run out for 25 had the bowler, Steven Mullaney, hit the stumps.
Benkenstein and Ross Taylor appeared to have everything under control in a stand of 46 in six overs, but it all began to go wrong for Durham when Taylor's bat handle broke as he square drove Paul Franks for four to reach 33.
He took a swing at the next ball with his new bat and skied it for wicketkeeper Bilal Shafayat to take a comfortable catch. Benkenstein maintained the required rate in the next two overs, but then drove to extra cover and called for a single.
Albie Morkel was unable to beat David Hussey's throw and when Benkenstein departed in the next over it left the inexperienced Ben Stokes to try to complete the task with Gareth Breese. Nottinghamshire scored 61 in the first 10 overs and 125 in the second, helped by 19 off the last over from the previously frugal Morkel.
Hussey, dropped off a skier in the 19th over, hit Morkel's last two balls for four and six, the latter soaring high into the crowd over backward square leg off a full toss. In fact, it was judged to be the second full toss above waist height which Morkel had bowled, forcing him to be withdrawn from the action.
As it was also a no-ball Breese had to come on for the final ball, off which Hussey was caught at deep square leg. Alistair Brown made only 14 in the first 10 overs of Nottinghamshire's innings but finished unbeaten on 73, while Patel hit a 36-ball half-century in a third-wicket stand of 112.