Nottinghamshire openers Alex Hales and Riki Wessels made light work of a struggling Durham side as the Outlaws wrapped up a nine-wicket win in their NatWest T20 Blast match at Chester-le-Street.
Having bowled out their opponents for just 123, Hales (44), Wessels (49 not out) and Brendan Taylor (33 not out) saw Nottinghamshire safely over the line with four overs to spare to leave winless Durham propping up the North Group on minus four points.
Any chance of a contest looked remote from the moment Durham, last year’s finalists, slipped to eight for two after 10 balls.
They were briefly revived by Graham Clark with 41 off 27 balls but then quickly slipped to 65 for six, with Samit Patel picking up three wickets.
On the day he was awarded a full contract until the end of the 2019 season, Cameron Steel cut the first ball of the match from Patel for four. However, after adding two singles he lifted left-arm seamer Luke Wood’s first ball to extra cover.
Paul Collingwood was moved up to three in the batting order but fell for nought, skying a pull off Wood to backward square leg.
Clark cut, pulled and drove three fours in taking 15 off the first five balls of a Jake Ball over, only for Michael Richardson to bottom edge the sixth into his stumps.
Patel was recalled and had Clark caught behind when aiming to leg to leave Durham 58 for four.
Jack Burnham’s fierce drive to extra cover was well held above his head by Dan Christian before Stuart Poynter was bowled by Patel’s next ball.
Paul Coughlin (23) and Ryan Pringle (19) did well to add 39 before the latter pulled Steven Mullaney straight to deep backward square.
Smart work saw Coughlin run out and Barry McCarthy stumped by Tom Moores off Ish Sodi before last man Chris Rushworth lofted to mid-off.
It was a tame end to a stuttering innings, leaving Nottinghamshire with a simple task to complete their third successive win.
Debutant Liam Trevaskis was asked to bowl the first over and Hales promptly hit the left-arm spinner for two fours.
And when Coughlin came on for the third over Hales twice drove him straight down the ground.
Hales set about finishing things as quickly as possible, only to be bowled for 44 when going down the pitch to Trevaskis in the seventh over.
There were already 69 runs on the board at this point and Wessels was able to continue his good form by coasting to an unbeaten 49.
Taylor then finished the match with a six over long-on off Pringle.