sport

Hales fires Notts to victory

Alex Hales blasted his third century of the season to help Nottinghamshire win their opening match by 29 runs in the Royal London One-Day Cup against Sussex at Horsham.

The England batsman hit 116 in 115 balls and put on 139 for the first wicket with Michael Lumb (77) as the Outlaws made 312 for eight from their 50 overs.

That proved more than enough, with a Sussex team missing the in-form Luke Wright through injury only able to muster 283 for eight in response despite an unbeaten 63 from Steffan Piolet, Steven Mullaney taking four for 33.

Hales was initially outscored by Lumb after Sussex had won the toss and put Notts in with the left-hander reaching his 50 off just 58 balls and including one big six off Steve Magoffin.

Hales brought up his half-century from 73 balls but began to accelerate after Lumb was bowled for 77 charging down the track at Will Beer.

Hales reached his century off 107 balls - his second 50 coming off 34 deliveries - having received a reprieve on 88 when he was dropped by Matt Machan on the mid-wicket boundary.

The 25-year-old eventually holed out to Lewis Hatchett at long on off the bowling of Piolet who finished with excellent figures of two for 35.

That was one of five wickets to fall for 48 runs as Sussex fought back well with the ball with Beer playing a key role.

The leg-spinner bowled James Taylor for 13 and had James Franklin caught and bowled to claim figures of three for 60 while he also ran out Riki Wessels for a duck with a direct hit.

Mullaney ensured the Outlaws made it past 300 by blasting three sixes in his 20-ball 40 before becoming one of Hatchett's two late victims.

Sussex would have fancied their chances of chasing down a target of 313 on a good wicket with a fast outfield but their hopes were undone as they lost wickets at regular intervals.

The Sharks got off to a good start as skipper Ed Joyce and Luke Wells put on 65 for the first wicket but they lost their way after Wells was caught at point off Franklin by Taylor for a one-day best of 23.

Craig Cachopa smacked his first legitimate ball in English List A cricket for six before becoming one of Mullaney's four victims as he edged behind to Chris Read for 22.

Mullaney also dismissed Chris Nash for 26, Ben Brown for three and Machan for 43 as Sussex were forced to take risks with the run rate climbing.

The key wicket was Joyce, who was superbly caught running backwards by Taylor for 59 off the bowling of Samit Patel.

Piolet completed a fine game by making his maiden List A half-century but his seventh-wicket partnership of 55 with Beer (23) proved in vain.