Defending champions Nottinghamshire Outlaws were defeated in the opening game of the 2018 Vitality Blast, as last year's losing finalists Birmingham Bears gained revenge with a handy eight-wicket win.
Chasing 156 to win, former England batsman Ian Bell (82no off 57) hit a vintage, classy half-century as Birmingham eased to victory inside 17.2 overs.
The Bears were on top as early as the fourth ball as hugely impressive 18-year-old quick Henry Brookes (1-24) bounced out Chris Nash for a duck in a wicket-maiden start.
Opening partner Riki Wessels (41 off 29) batted nicely, taking three boundaries from Brookes' third over, but wickets fell at regular intervals as all of Birmingham's six bowlers pitched in with at least one strike - Grant Elliott taking a terrific diving catch to dismiss Tom Moores (15).
Colin de Grandhomme (2-24) claimed two from his four overs, including man of the match from last year's final, Samit Patel, caught and bowled for a duck.
Billy Root (33no off 29) played the anchor role, allowing for some lower-order big hitting from Steven Mullaney (22 off 12) and Luke Fletcher (27 off 14), but the home side's score of 155-7 was never likely enough for the short boundaries of Trent Bridge.
Much like earlier with the ball, the Bears had a huge impact on the result of the game inside the first four balls, with Ed Pollock blasting Samit for two huge back-to-back sixes over deep midwicket in the opening over.
Pollock (13) fell to the first ball of Harry Gurney's second over when trying to repeat the trick, and Adam Hose (17) was bowled by Ish Sodhi in the fourth - a ball after being dropped by Nash, who then left the field to get an X-ray on an injured shoulder.
Sodhi was also guilty of a poor drop in the latter overs, but by that time Bell had already cruised through to a 33-ball half century, putting on 121 with Sam Hain (45no off 30), and the Bears were well on their way to a convincing win.
Elsewhere in the North Group, Colin Ackermann smashed 66 off 31 balls to guide Leicestershire Foxes to a four-wicket victory over Northamptonshire Steelbacks in a high-scoring thriller at Wantage Road. SCORECARD
Ackermann's unbeaten knock saw the Foxes incredibly chase down an imposing 219-run target with two balls to spare, having at one stage still needed 112 from the final seven overs.
Earlier, Ben Duckett struck a personal T20-best of 96 off 54 balls as the the Steelbacks posted an imposing-looking score of 218-3 batting first.
And finally, in the only game of the night from the South Group, Sussex Sharks beat Essex Eagles by 36 runs at Chelmsford. SCORECARD
Michael Burgess (56 off 23) and Laurie Evans (61 off 45) smashed 81 in a six-and-a-half-over stand for the fourth wicket to help lift the visitors up to a score of 181-6 batting first.
David Wiese ripped the heart out of the Eagles batting order with 5-24, including three wickets in five balls in his fourth over, while Jofra Archer chipped in with 3-24 and Rashid Khan - on his Sussex debut - took 2-25 as the hosts were bowled out for 145.
The Vitality Blast continues on Thursday with Middlesex taking on Surrey, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 6pm.
Comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click 'Report'.