Dan Christian struck the one of the fastest hundreds in the history of T20 to anchor Nottinghamshire Outlaws’ 58-run win at the County Ground.
Christian’s 37-ball century with seven fours and eight sixes was the joint-seventh fastest in the history of the format and the second-fastest in the domestic game. It was Christian’s second T20 hundred and the third T20 hundred by an Outlaws batsman.
His brutal hitting saw Notts rack up 219-6 – equalling the highest T20 total at Wantage Road only set on Wednesday – and despite Ben Duckett’s 88 from 45 balls, the Steelbacks were bowled out for 161.
Christian arrived at the crease with Notts 81-4 in the 10th over having been sent in and set about dismantling the Steelbacks bowling with some of the cleanest hitting seen at Northampton. He struck three consecutive sixes off Graeme White’s left-arm spin – over deep midwicket, long-off and then a huge strike a long way back over long-on.
He saved his biggest strike for Nathan Buck who was hammered over his head and onto the roof of the Ken Turner Stand among an over that cost 28 before the final over of the innings, bowled by Rory Kleinveldt, disappeared for 22 with two more Christian sixes. Eighty runs came from the final five overs.
Christian’s partnership with Samit Patel added 97 runs in 45 balls to take Notts to a total beyond their ambitions at the half-way stage. Patel skipped down to lift White over long-on and heaved him through midwicket for four in his 35 in 26 balls.
The Steelbacks had removed their usual tormentor, Riki Wessels, for just six – bowled trying to pull Ben Sanderson – and also picked up Tom Moores for 15 and Steven Mullaney for 21 in a Powerplay that yielded 50-3 but Christian’s brilliance from there effectively won the game.
Duckett kept the Steelbacks in the game for the first half of the chase, by flashing past 50 in only 17 balls. He took 30 from the third over, bowled by Samit Patel with a succession of sweeps. Three consecutive sixes preceded three consecutive fours. He swung Mullaney into the sight-screen at the Wilson End but trying to hit the same bowler over the off side, top-edged to Paul Coughlin who claimed a fine catch on his Notts debut.
But Duckett was the only batsman to show for Northants who lost Richard Levi to a leg-side strange for just three and Josh Cobb caught at deep-midwicket for only six. The chase suffered a huge blow when Alex Wakely was sent back by Duckett trying to come back for a second run and was run out for 11 after a diving save on the boundary by Will Fraine.
After Duckett’s dismissal, Northants subsided and when Harry Gurney took out Buck’s leg-stump, victory was completed by a handsome margin to get the defending champions underway for 2018.