A quite brilliant century from Alex Hales steered Notts Outlaws to victory in the final of the Royal London One-Day Cup competition.
Hales scored 187, smashing records along the way, as the Outlaws defeated Surrey by four wickets at Lord’s.
Set a challenging 298 to win, Hales scored his runs from 167 balls, having hit 20 fours and four sixes. The winning runs, scored by James Pattinson, came with 13 balls remaining.
Aside from Hales knock, the highest ever achieved in a domestic final and the highest ever posted by a Notts batsman in one-day cricket, the contribution from Chris Read was immeasurable.
The captain made 58 from 57 balls and shared in a stand of 137 in 20.4 overs with the opener.
Surrey had made 297 for nine, after opting to bat first, with Mark Stoneman scoring an unbeaten 144. Samit Patel was the leading wicket-taker, with figures of three for 51.
The run chase began in cloudy conditions with Hales being dropped in the second over, when on nine, driving Sam Curran straight to Ollie Pope in the covers.
Surrey’s reaction told its own story, although they soon had success at the other end as Sam Curran trapped Michael Lumb lbw for 4.
Hales motored onwards, pulling the younger Curran for the first six of the game in the sixth over and then plundering the first of three extra cover boundaries in three overs.
Another lbw decision, this time in Ravi Rampaul’s first over, saw off Riki Wessels for just 6 but Hales immediately brought up his own 50 from only 35 balls.
Rampaul struck for a second time when Patel pulled the former West Indies’ international into the hands of Sam Curran at long leg for seven.
Brendan Taylor only made eleven before feathering Jade Dernbach behind, leaving the chase finely balanced at 128 for four.
Hales hundred arrived out of a team total of 134 and came from 83 balls with 14 fours. Much depended on the former MCC Young Cricketer, who celebrated his 16th one-day hundred by launching Gareth Batty into the Warner Stand for his second maximum.
Steven Mullaney appeared to get a poor decision, with an inside edge not preventing him from becoming the third leg before victim of the innings; Sam Curran the fortunate bowler.
At 150 for five Notts were a long way from home but a measured knock from Read nudged the East Midlands side towards their goal.
Taking pressure off Hales, who had already given his all in one of the great innings on the ground, the 38-year old veteran snuffed out Surrey’s chances with the most composed of knocks.
It was perhaps fitting that one of the county’s greatest ever servants fell with the finishing line just a couple of blows away but it gave the Lord’s crowd of 17,000, and in particular the Outlaws’ contingent, the chance to cheer him from the field with a standing ovation.
Hales had gone past Geoffrey Boycott’s Gillette Cup Final score of 146, made against Surrey in 1965 – the previous best in a final – and then outdid Lumb’s county best of 184 – before Pattinson hit the winning runs to seal the county’s fourth success at the Home of Cricket.
Earlier, the final could have had the most dramatic of starts. Luke Fletcher, playing in place of the injured Jake Ball, found the outside edge of Jason Roy’s bat but the ball burst through the fingers of Wessels at first slip.
That miss heralded the beginning of a nervy opening period for the Outlaws; Harry Gurney began the second over with a no ball and then Fletcher fired a wide down the leg side.
Roy and Stoneman made the most of the early opportunity to get the scoreboard moving, putting on 74 from the opening 10 overs powerplay.
Stoneman had a life on 32, being spilled by Mullaney at cover, after driving Gurney uppishly.
The introduction of Pattinson; coming on for the seventh over, put a break on things but it wasn’t until Notts turned to spin that they eventually claimed their first wicket.
The first ball of the 11th over, bowled by Patel, caused Roy to prod a leading edge to Mullaney on the off side.
Stoneman reached his 50 from 45 balls with seven fours and was joined by fellow left-hander Kumar Sangakkara in a second wicket stand of 58.
The in-form Sangakkara, who made 166 when the two sides met at the semi-final stage in 2015, looked ominously unflustered when he arrived at the crease.
Moving to 30, the warning signs were there for Notts, but Mullaney’s introduction saw the end of the great Sri Lankan batsman, who nicked behind to captain Read.
The Mullaney-Patel axis has turned many a game in the direction of the Outlaws over the years and they bowled in tandem to snare three more wickets in quick succession.
Scott Borthwick hit the spinner into the hands of the Notts number 5 at midwicket, who then grabbed the ball and bowled Ben Foakes.
Patel’s next over had Pope wonderfully taken at slip by Mullaney. Surrey had slid from 172 for two to 180 for five.
48 were added for the sixth wicket, which was the most spectacular of the innings as Pattinson exploded one of his thunderbolts into the stumps of Sam Curran, who made 24.
Stoneman had reached his hundred from 108 balls and kept on going as his innings gained increasing importance.
The former Durham man was partially culpable in the dismissal of the next Surrey wicket as both he and Tom Curran ended up at the same end, allowing a Patel throw from the deep to find ‘keeper Read, who executed the dismissal of England’s newest international.
Fletcher made up for his earlier disappointment by grabbing his first wicket of the final when he yorked Gareth Batty in the penultimate over and Gurney also registered a strike by having Dernbach caught in the deep by Wessels.
Stoneman’s unbeaten effort had ensured that Surrey had put a competitive score on the board and, but for Hales’ wonder-show, it would have been the decisive effort.
Having won 60, 55 and 40-over finals at Lord’s in the past, Notts Outlaws now have the 50-over crown as winners of the Royal London One-Day Cup final.
Congratulations to Pater Moores, his backroom staff, all of the playing squad and all Outlaws supporters on a momentous achievement.