With the Bank holiday weekend over, the weather fell back to its more typical April status in the week after Easter. Tuesday’s fixtures saw remarkable similarities of outcomes at Birmingham and Southampton. At Edgbaston, Nottinghamshire batted first and Ben Slater got them off to a fine start, making exactly 100, as the visitors made 301 for nine. Warwickshire skipper Jeetan Patel took five for 45. The hosts’ top order was blown away and they collapsed to 22 for four. Despite a career-best 55 from Alex Thomson, there was no way back and they were bowled out for 183, losing by 118 runs.
Meanwhile, on the south coast, it was Hampshire who batted first and they also scored 301 for nine, with one of their openers top-scoring, too – though Aiden Markram made 88. For Middlesex, it was Tom Helm who took five wickets to keep things under some sort of control. The visitors reached 114 for three before they collapsed to 182 all out, losing by 119 runs. At Bristol, Kent scored 282 for eight before an 80-ball 100 not out from Gareth Roderick took the game completely away from them and ensured Gloucestershire won by six wickets. At The Oval, Surrey made 278 for eight, before Morne Morkel (four for 23) and Liam Plunkett (four for 50) bowled them to victory over Essex, who could only muster 213 in reply. Conor McKerr made his debut in this format, but didn’t take a wicket.
On the Wednesday, the competition’s luck with the April weather ran out, and all four games were decided by Duckworth/Lewis. At Manchester, Saq Mahmood had a day to remember as he ended up with only the fifth six-wicket haul in Lancashire’s history, finishing with figures of six for 37. Northamptonshire still made 269 all out. Keaton Jennings (63) and Haseeb Hameed (65) got the Red Rose off to a great start, adding 130 for the first wicket, and they had progressed to 164 for two when the rain came, thus winning by 45 runs.
A second successive century (119) by Colin Ackermann was the main highlight of Leicestershire’s total of 312 for eight at Grace Road. Sam Conners made his debut for Derbyshire and took the wicket of Arron Lilley. Billy Godleman also made back-to-back centuries (106), but it was a 52-ball 73 not out from Leus du Plooy that saw his side up to 266 for three after 39 overs, ensuring they had made their Duckworth/Lewis target.
At Worcester, Durham made 114 for four in 27.2 overs, and the hosts were then set a target of 152 in 24 overs, thanks to Duckworth/Lewis. They got there with four wickets and ten balls to spare. George Bartlett made his debut for Somerset at Hove, and his nine-ball 19 near the end boosted their total to 283 for eight. Sussex’s target was 131 from 16.3 overs, but they finished on 62 for four.
The weather intervened again on Thursday, and there was no result at Cardiff, where the home side had reached 68 for two when the rain came. Jeremy Lawlor scored 3 on his debut. In the London derby at The Oval, Middlesex made 277, with Ross Taylor top-scoring with 64 on his debut for the county. Gareth Batty, aged 41, took four for 29. Jamie Smith made his debut for Surrey and contributed 17, but like the rest of the side it wasn’t enough and they were dismissed for 240, with Tom Helm and Nathan Sowter each picking up four wickets.
Five of Friday’s six games were interrupted, the exception being the game at Northampton, where Worcestershire batted first and Hamish Rutherford continued his excellent form, making 126 out of 254 for nine. His innings was the difference between the two sides as the hosts could make only 234 in reply, with Ben Curran scoring 10 on his debut.
There was another runfest at Trent Bridge, with Nottinghamshire making an astonishing 433 for seven, with all the top six making fifty or more – surely a record in List-A cricket. It was the fifth highest score in England in limited-overs cricket, with Trent Bridge and The Oval each being the venue for three of the top six totals on record. Dieter Klein was the one to suffer most, going for 93 runs in his nine overs. Although Leicestershire had an opening partnership of 106 in 13.2 overs, the total was always too daunting, and Duckworth/Lewis calibrated it as 347 in 37 overs. The visitors made 259.
At Edgbaston, Warwickshire made just 244 for eight in their 50 overs, setting Durham a target of 211 from 36 overs, with they reached with seven wickets and 14 balls in hand. The bat dominated in another thriller at Headingley, after the Roses match. Yorkshire made 308 for two in 40 overs, with all four batsmen passing fifty. Derbyshire’s target was a challenging 225 in 22 overs, but in Billy Godleman they have the form batsman of the tournament, as he became the first Derbyshire batsman ever to score hundreds in three consecutive List-A matches. He was facing David Willey on 94 not out at the start of the final over, with 17 required for victory. He hit two, then a wide, then a four to bring up his century in 59 balls, then a six to leave them needing four off three. But each of the final three deliveries went for just one run and the game ended in a tie. Anuj Dal made his debut for Derbyshire, but didn’t bat or bowl.
There was even more spectacular batting at Southampton where James Vince hit 190 in 154 balls, the highest List-A score for Hampshire. He and Gordon Greenidge are the only two batsmen in the county’s history to have topped 170, and they have both achieved the feat three times. His side finished on 331 for eight, after Vince and Liam Dawson (73) added a county record 186 for the fifth wicket. Gloucestershire, set a target of 318 in 47 overs, made 246 all out, with no one reaching fifty. The weather at Taunton rather ruined the day/night game. Somerset took complete charge thanks to a second-wicket partnership of 217 between Azhar Ali (110) and Peter Trego (141) that set them up for a total of 353 for five in 39 overs. Essex’s target was 191 in 17 overs, but they could only reach 154 for six.
Lord’s hosted the only game played on the Saturday, and Luke Wright made the most of the opportunity at Headquarters, hitting a splendid 166 in 142 balls – it was a county record score that also featured nine sixes. It was the 11th hundred of Wright’s List-A career, and was at the heart of Sussex’s total of 298. Nathan Sowter took four for 48 and now has 15 wickets in his five games this summer. Middlesex’s batsmen had no answer to Sussex’s bowling, and were bowled out for 176.
By the end of the second week, in the North Group, Nottinghamshire completed five wins out of five after they beat Yorkshire by four wickets at Trent Bridge. The visitors were bowled out for 213 and when the hosts hit 75 in 11 overs before the first wicket fell, they had established complete control, and went on to win with more than 15 overs to spare. Durham are second (on four wins out of five) after their three-wicket victory over Derbyshire at Chester-le-Street. The visitors made 255 for eight and Billy Godleman failed to make it four hundreds in a row, but he is still the leading batsman in the competition, with 439 runs, and Michael Richardson saw them home with 20 balls to spare after his unbeaten 72 in 71 balls.
Lancashire are third, on six points, after crushing Leicestershire, who were bowled out for just 80, their lowest score since 2000. Saq Mahmood backed up his previous performance by taking five for 14, to become the first Lancashire bowler ever to take consecutive five-wicket hauls in List-A cricket. He now has 18 wickets in the competition, three more than anyone else. The hosts took 19 overs to secure the win, losing just one wicket in the process. Worcestershire’s home defeat to Warwickshire saw them slip to fourth. Sam Hain was the star for the away side, hitting a career-best unbeaten 161 to take his team up to 315 for five. Wayne Parnell came up with an impressive late flurry in the chase, making 76 in 57 balls, but it wasn’t enough and the hosts finished on 281 all out.
In the South Group, Somerset remained top despite losing for the first time this season, against Gloucestershire at Bristol. Their total of 242 for nine seemed inadequate – and so it proved. The hosts got there with four wickets and four balls to spare, with Ryan Higgins giving vital impetus at the end, scoring 30 not out in 16 balls. Hampshire missed the chance to go clear at the top when they also lost for the first time in the competition. At Chelmsford, Rishi Patel made 35 on his debut, but the Essex stars were Ravi Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate, both of whom scored 89 to help their team up to 341 for six. Rilee Rossouw hit a 72-ball 93 in reply, but there were no other big scores as Hampshire were bowled out for 230, Matt Coles taking four for 48.
Sussex remain third on six points after yesterday’s win, along with Middlesex and Gloucestershire, while Glamorgan recorded their first win after they beat Surrey by 64 runs at Cardiff. Billy Root hit a career-best 113 not out and along with Marchant de Lange (a career-best 58 not out in 35 balls) added a county record unbeaten 113 eighth-wicket partnership to take them up to 323 for seven. De Lange completed a fine all-round performance, taking four for 63, as Surrey were bowled out for 259. He was just the sixth player in the county’s history to score a fifty and take four wickets in the same match.