Birmingham 101 for 3 (Bell 38, Porterfield 37*) beat Nottinghamshire 149 for 9 (Wessels 39, Hannon-Dalby 4-29) by 7 wickets (D/L method)
On a night when Edgbaston's marketing team deserved some sympathy, Birmingham at least fashioned a win, indeed a win that takes them level on points with Durham at the top of the North Group with three matches in hand.
You fancied chasing 150 to win from 20 overs might have tested them but after their innings was interrupted by heavy rain only four balls in, the defending NatWest Blast champions emerged with a revised target of 98 from 11 overs, which they chased down successfully with four balls to spare.
William Porterfield, who hit the winning boundary, finished 37 not out from 22 deliveries after Ian Bell had hit 38 off 24, the England man following his 65-ball 90 against Durham last week by indulging himself again in the freedom to take liberties, hitting sixes off Ben Hilfenhaus, Samit Patel and Darren Sammy that ensured that a modest turn-out at least had something to enthuse over.
In the Nottinghamshire innings, Oliver Hannon-Dalby finished with a Twenty20 career-best 4 for 29 from his four overs after Riki Wessels had hit 39 from 19 balls.
It was when Bell went on the attack against Patel and Sammy in the sixth and seventh overs of Birmingham's reply, scoring 23 of his runs in the space of eight balls before picking out Wessels at long-off, that the balance swung in the home side's favour. The opening overs from Hilfenhaus, Jake Ball and Steven Mullaney had kept them behind the required rate after Varun Chopra had been out without scoring immediately before the weather closed in.
It was miserable. Edgbaston struggles to attract substantial crowds for Twenty20 at the best of times and Friday nights in June are not meant to be like this. Even Sammy, in his last match for Nottinghamshire before he returns home to play in the Caribbean Premier League, struggled to muster a smile at times, blinking through the drizzle as he ran in to bowl.
Asked to bat first, Nottinghamshire had looked favourites in the opening stages of the contest, rushing rushed to 65 for 2 in their Powerplay overs, mainly thanks to Wessels, who plundered three sixes in the space of seven deliveries, two of them as he went after Jeetan Patel in the costliest over of the evening, which brought him 21 runs, and the third off the first ball of the next, off Recordo Gordon.
But Wessels was out to the last ball of the sixth over, a well judged catch by Chopra at cover off a soaring top edge. Brendan Taylor, with whom he had added 46 in four overs for the second wicket, then hit Rikki Clarke straight to mid-off in the next over, after which the scoring rate slowed rapidly as Patel and the leg-spinner Josh Poysden applied the brakes impressively, despite the extra challenge of bowling with a wet ball.
Poysden, playing in only his second Twenty20 after Warwickshire chose to leave out Boyd Rankin in favour of an extra spinner, conceded only five runs in his first two overs and took the wicket of Greg Smith, leg before in an attempted sweep. Two dot balls to Sammy won some applause from the Edgbaston crowd.
Overs eight to 13 saw the Nottinghamshire total grow by a meagre 25 runs, with two wickets lost, although Sammy was not to be contained completely. Indeed, a glazier will be required in the morning after the first of his two sixes smashed through the window of a sponsors' lounge on the second elevated tier of the vast pavilion, damaging Poysden's figures at the same time.
The same over had begun with the first Nottinghamshire boundary in 41 balls. Sammy launched Atiq Javid for the second of his sixes in the following over but the Nottinghamshire batsmen were never able to reassert themselves in any sustained way.
James Taylor, who had driven three and a half hours from London to take his place in the side and the captaincy after England decided they could manage without him, was leg before to a Rikki Clarke full toss, and though Sammy and Sam Wood combined to take 11 off Gordon's next over the return of Hannon-Dalby at 133 for 6 after 17 put a stop to that.
The former Yorkshire seamer dismissed the two in consecutive deliveries, both caught at mid-on. He began hitting the spot with his yorkers and his final over was shaping up very nicely when the first four balls brought just two singles and the wicket of Hilfenhaus to a slower one and it was a shame for him that his final delivery was loose enough for Ball to hit over the top, clearing the rope.
Nottinghamshire were none too happy when a range hitting contest staged as one of the evening's sideshows disrupted their practice between innings, although it probably had no bearing on the outcome.