Alex Hales lifted a free hit for six in an unbeaten 40 to guide Trent Rockets to a two-wicket win over Northern Superchargers with six balls to spare in their Hundred clash at Trent Bridge. It was a second win from two games for the home side in a low-scoring thriller.

Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan took three for 31 and South African paceman Marchant De Lange followed up his five for 20 against Southern Brave on Saturday with three for 22 as the Superchargers were bowled out for 132 in 99 balls.

John Simpson top-scored with 42 and off-spinner Matt Carter claimed two for 17 on debut.

The Rockets lost eight wickets for 103 in a calamitous response and still needed 16 from the last 10 balls but Carter smashed a David Willey full toss for six and with the target eight from seven, Carter’s single off a Willey no-ball for height brought it down to five from seven and Hales took full advantage of the free hit to the delight of an 11,483 crowd.

The Rockets had Paul Franks in charge after head coach Andy Flower tested positive for Covid-19, which required a change on the field as well with Steven Mullaney forced to self-isolate after close contact either with Flower or one of two support staff members who also tested positive.

After electing to bat, Superchargers stumbled at the start, losing Chris Lynn and skipper Ben Stokes inside the first 17 balls as Carter – Mullaney’s replacement – celebrated his Hundred debut with two wickets.

Lynn sliced the off-spinner’s first ball to cover before Stokes miscued his attempt to clear extra cover and departed for five, safely pouched by Hales. When Khan bowled Adam Lyth behind his legs sweeping, the Superchargers were 38 for three from 34.

Harry Brook and Simpson did some rebuilding, adding 61 from 40 balls before Brook’s attempt to clear cover off Lewis Gregory went wrong.

Then four wickets in six balls wrecked any chance of a strong finish. Khan beat Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s attempted slog-sweep and Afghan compatriot Mujeeb Ur Rahman holed out to long-on, before two perished in two balls from the pace of De Lange, Willey finding fine leg with a ramp and Brydon Carse slicing to cover.

De Lange picked up a third when Simpson gave Hales his third catch and the innings ended on 99 balls when Adil Rashid was run out, leaving the Rockets to chase 133.

The home side lost three wickets on 20 – D’Arcy Short leg before sweeping Mujeeb before leg-spinner Rashid took two in two, trapping Dawid Malan lbw and inducing a return catch off a leading edge to dismiss Joe Root first ball.

That became 58 for six as Samit Patel lofted Callum Parkinson for a towering six but nicked a drive to be caught behind off the same bowler; Tom Moores feathered one from Stokes, and Lewis Gregory, after pulling a six off Mujeeb that saw him almost caught, was bowled by Parkinson.

Khan smashed 25 from 11 balls but then top-edged Stokes to be caught behind, and Hales, unable to get going, had some luck when Stokes dropped one over the rope for six off Rashid.

Luke Wood was lbw to Mujeeb, but Carter pulled Stokes for four and Hales slog-swept him for six to set up the dramatic finale.


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