Leicestershire begin defence with win
Leicestershire, the defending champions, got their campaign off to a winning start against Nottinghamshire with a five-wicket success. Paul Nixon guided them home, with four balls to spare, hitting 32 with four fours and a six. Dinesh Mongia made an elegant 39 but a middle-order wobble kept Notts in the game. Notts' batting never really fired against Leicestershire's experienced attack. Jeremy Snape was superb, bowling his four overs for 18 runs and taking three important wickets.
Lancashire beat Roses rivals Yorkshire by five wickets in front of 14,119 spectators at a sunny Headingley with blistering half-centuries from Mal Loye and Brad Hodge. Loye took Matthew Hoggard to the cleaners as he went for 65 runs and Loye smashed 59 from 33 balls. Hodge showed further evidence of his Twenty20 skills, guiding Lancashire home with 64 not out. Phil Jaques peppered the boundary for Yorkshire striking 72 off 40 balls but Lancashire's spinners proved hard to get away.
Derbyshire secured a comfortable six-wicket win against Durham after James Bryant guided them home with 53 from 46 balls. Jonathan Moss provided the necessary power with a rapid 46 off 28 deliveries. Gordon Muchall top-scored for Durham with 46 but the rest of the batsmen could not locate the boundary often enough. Ant Botha was especially economical with 2 for 16 from his four overs.
Sussex had few problems getting past Essex, cruising to a nine-wicket win with more than five overs to spare. Matt Prior crashed his way to 66 as Sussex raced to their target of 110. Mushtaq Ahmed had bamboozled Essex's middle and lower-order, whose approach verged on the suicidal, completing figures of 5 for 11 as Essex slid from 98 for 4 to 109 all out, without using 3.3 of their overs.
The closest match of the day was at Cardiff where Glamorgan and Somerset tied, but Glamorgan won by virtue of losing fewer wickets. A superb 39-ball 68 from Mike Powell thrilled the 6,000 capacity crowd who thought that the game had been tied when Glamorgan, needing two off the last ball, ran a bye to the wicketkeeper. Both sides seemed to think they had shared the spoils until the PA announcer gave the correct result to the delight of the home supporters.
Northamptonshire racked up the highest ever Twenty20 total in England, reaching 224 for 5, before completing a 81-run thrashing of Gloucestershire. David Sales led the carnage smiting 78 from 42 balls and added 72 with Damien Wright who made 38 off 20 balls. Gloucestershire's bowlers had no answers and the batsmen were in a hopeless situation and were soon 47 for 5. Ben Phillips went through the middle-order, finishing with 4 for 28. "That was one of our worst performances this year and that's saying something," Mark Alleyne, Gloucestershire's coach, said. "There has got to be a big change. We can't afford to go on like this."
Worcestershire held their nerve to seal a thrilling one-run win against Warwickshire. At 68 for 5 Worcestershire's quest of 178 looked forlorn but Jonathan Trott and Michael Powell hit rapid forties, however Warwickshire couldn't quite get over the line as David Leatherdale kept his head at the end. Graeme Hick had provided the base of Worcestershire's 177 for 7 with 67, while Ben Smith made a useful 47.