Alex Hales and Chris Nash fire Nottinghamshire Outlaws to Vitality Blast victory over Middlesex
Last Updated: 05/09/19 9:44pm
Alex Hales and Chris Nash smashed brutal half-centuries as Nottinghamshire Outlaws coasted into the Vitality Blast semi-finals with a resounding 10-wicket victory over Middlesex at Trent Bridge.
Hales, who signed a new white-ball contract with the Outlaws earlier this week, flayed the Middlesex attack to the tune of 83 off 47 balls as he and Nash shared a colossal unbroken partnership of 165.
Nash, making his first Blast appearance of the season, finished with 74 from 53 balls as Nottinghamshire clinched the win with 3.4 overs to spare and booked their third Finals Day place in four years.
That outcome never looked in any doubt after Middlesex had set their hosts a below-par target of 161, despite an impressive knock of 53 from 31 balls by England one-day captain Eoin Morgan.
The Outlaws put Middlesex in and strangled their innings from the start, with off-spinner Matt Carter (2-16) accounting for openers Paul Stirling (11) and Dawid Malan (2) in the same over.
Pakistan left-armer Imad Wasim (2-31) inflicted another double blow on the visitors with two wickets in as many deliveries - one of them the prize scalp of AB de Villiers (11), who swept him into the hands of deep midwicket.
John Simpson raised the tempo with 25 from 21 balls and, once he had holed out off Samit Patel, it was down to Toby Roland-Jones (26 from 19) to keep Morgan company as the pair added 58 in 33 deliveries.
Morgan brought up his half-century by clipping Harry Gurney for six on the leg side, but he then sliced the next ball to backward point and the Middlesex innings petered out as they clambered to 160-8.
Hales got Nottinghamshire off to a flying start in pursuit of their target, swinging Mujeeb Ur-Rahman for six and four from successive balls, and Nash soon joined in as he hammered 14 off Tom Helm's first over.
Middlesex's bowlers were unable to stem the flow of runs, with the Outlaws passing 50 in only the fourth over - and they fluffed their chance of a breakthrough when both batsmen were put down off skiers at long on.
Nash was first to his half-century from 30 balls, with Hales taking four fewer deliveries to follow suit and he was given yet another life on 57 when Stevie Eskinazi spilled a catch in the deep off Roland-Jones.
Hales finished off proceedings in the 17th over with his eighth six, an enormous heave into the stands off Helm.
Watch every Vitality Blast quarter-final live on Sky Sports Cricket, continuing with Sussex vs Worcestershire on Friday from 6.55pm.