Hales blasts Nottinghamshire win
Nottinghamshire 182 for 5 beat Durham 181 for 8 by five wickets
Alex Hales returned to haunt Durham by smashing an unbeaten 96 in Nottinghamshire's five-wicket Clydesdale Bank 40 triumph at Chester-le-Street.
On his last visit to the ground, 21-year-old Hales held a controversial boundary catch which turned a Twenty20 match in his side's favour. He insisted the catch was clean and Dale Benkenstein, who was on 40, took his word for it when a six had been signalled.
This time Hales was dropped on two by Gareth Breese at slip off Chris Rushworth and went on to see Nottinghamshire to victory with 4.1 overs to spare. It looked like being even more comfortable when Hales and Samit Patel were putting on 86 in 13 overs. But, with only 25 needed off 10 overs, Patel was stumped for 46 and then David Hussey fell for a duck, brilliantly caught above his head by Phil Mustard off a steeply-rising ball from Mitch Claydon.
The same combination accounted for Steve Mullaney, attempting a big pull, before Hales guided Liam Plunkett to third man for his ninth four to go with a six pulled off the same bowler. His runs came off 113 balls. Patel joined Hales at 71 for two in the 16th over and was soon timing his drives well enough to suggest Durham could not blame a sluggish pitch for their struggles.
In an otherwise dismal display by Durham, Gordon Muchall made 77 in a total of 181 for 8, which was nowhere near enough to prevent them from suffering their third successive defeat in this competition.
Even skipper Mustard, the fourth man out after trying to hold things together, was never able to time the ball in making 29 off 58 balls with one four - a leg glance off Paul Franks' first ball.
That was in the ninth over and Durham did not hit another boundary until the 24th, when Ian Blackwell drove past mid-off. Shortly afterwards he offered a return catch off the first ball sent down by Patel, who had come on for the last two balls of an over when Luke Fletcher limped off.
Mustard lost patience in the 22nd over, when he went down the pitch and was bowled by Graeme White, and in the left-arm spinner's next over Muchall gave his only chance when deep mid-off got his right hand to a firmly-struck drive.
That signalled the start of Muchall's acceleration and he drove two successive balls from White for four in the 26th over, adding a boundary clipped wide of long-on to his tally just before reaching 50 off 73 balls. Durham scored 15 off the 37th over, bowled by Franks, but managed only 15 runs off the remaining three overs as Muchall lofted a return catch to Mullaney.