Lightning hold off Bears challenge to stay top of North Group

Luke Wells in action for Lancashire
Luke Wells struck 66 from 32 balls in Lancashire Lightning's win over Birmingham Bears [Getty Images]

Luke Wells starred with bat and ball as Lancashire Lightning inflicted a first defeat of the campaign on Birmingham Bears to triumph by eight runs at Old Trafford and stay top of the North Group.

Wells top-scored with a career-best equalling 66 from 32 balls and then took two wickets with his leg-spin as Birmingham fell narrowly short of the Lightning total of 176-8.

Derbyshire Falcons thrashed Notts Outlaws by 96 runs – a first success against their neighbours since 2015 – while Northamptonshire Steelbacks scraped home in a close game against Worcestershire Rapids and Durham picked up their first win of the tournament against Leicestershire Foxes.

Sussex Sharks handed Surrey their first defeat in the South Group with an impressive 36-run success at the Kia Oval, despite an unbeaten 99 by Ollie Pope.

Kent Spitfires skipper Sam Billings smashed a career-best hundred at Canterbury to seal a thrilling four-wicket win over defending champions Somerset.

There were also victories for Hampshire, who overcame Gloucestershire by five wickets at Bristol and Essex Eagles, edging Glamorgan by two wickets at Chelmsford.

Falcons soar to rare win against rivals Notts

Ross Whiteley celebrates
Ross Whiteley (R) played a key role with both bat and ball for Derbyshire Falcons [Getty Images]

Derbyshire’s first T20 success against Nottinghamshire in nine years was built on veteran Wayne Madsen’s 53, which laid the foundations for the Falcons to post 198-6.

Ross Whiteley hammered 46 from just 16 balls before he fell to Olly Stone (3-42) with the final delivery of the innings – and then took a career-best 3-23 with his medium-pacers as the Outlaws crumbled to 102 all out in 16.4 overs.

Daryn Dupavillon claimed 3-15 and Pat Brown 3-17 to condemn Notts to their fourth straight defeat.

Lancashire sealed their third victory in four games, with Wells anchoring their total of 176-8 before returning 2-25 and adding two catches as Birmingham missed a chance to leapfrog their hosts to the group’s summit.

Sam Hain’s valiant 59 off 44 balls was not enough for the Bears, who replied with 168-6 as Lightning’s left-arm seamer Luke Wood took 2-34.

Northamptonshire all-rounder Saif Zaib plundered an unbeaten 44 off just 21 balls and bagged 3-20 as the Steelbacks won by just six runs against Worcestershire in a thriller at Wantage Road.

Zaib smashed six fours and two sixes to propel Steelbacks to 169-4, sharing an unbeaten stand of 79 with Sikander Raza (42 not out) to help his side recover from a mini-collapse. England off-spinner Shoaib Bashir, playing the first of five T20 loan games for Worcestershire, took 2-38.

In the chase, the visitors slumped to 120-8 before an extraordinary cameo from Gareth Roderick, who blasted 39 off just 22 balls, took the game to the wire but Steelbacks’ young seamer Raphy Weatherall held his nerve and conceded just four runs from the final over.

Durham are finally up and running after Alex Lees’ undefeated 71 from 53 balls guided them to victory over Leicestershire at Grace Road.

Spinners Nathan Sowter (3-23) and Callum Parkinson (2-30) reduced the home side to 106-6 before Ben Cox reignited the Foxes’ hopes, smashing an unbeaten 50 from 31 balls to lift them to 176-7.

But Lees and David Bedingham (43 from 32) shared a partnership of 83 from 56 in reply as Durham eased past their target in the final over.

Billings' brilliance steers Spitfires home

Sam Billings in action for Kent
Sam Billings hit 106 as Kent Spitfires chased down 198 to beat Somerset [Getty Images]

In the South Group, Kent were reeling on 37-4 in the fifth over against Somerset, but they were rescued by a sensational innings from Sam Billings, who hit a career-best 106 from 58 balls, with 14 fours and two sixes.

The Spitfires’ skipper fell in the 19th, but Joey Evison hit the winning runs to complete a brilliant comeback by the hosts.

Earlier Will Smeed blasted 68 from 30 to get Somerset off to a flying start at 95-0 from eight overs, but they were reined in and finished on 197-6 as Matt Parkinson took 2-36 and Zak Crawley took four catches, equalling Kent’s Blast record.

Tom Alsop’s 35-ball 68 and 65 off 43 by left-hander Daniel Hughes helped power Sussex to 213-7 after they had been put in – their biggest score in the format against Surrey.

Ollie Pope led Surrey’s response with an unbeaten 99 – one run short of what would have been his maiden T20 century – in a total of 177-7, but Sussex bowled with more discipline on a used pitch.

Their spinners sent down eight overs and both Archie Lenham and James Coles picked up important wickets, while Australian seamer Nathan McAndrew took 3-32.

Toby Albert struck an unbeaten 41 from 32 balls to secure a second successive win for Hampshire, steering them over the line by five wickets in a low-scoring game against Gloucestershire at Bristol.

Hampshire’s seamers dominated, with John Turner taking 3-24 and Michael Neser, Chris Wood and James Fuller picking up two wickets apiece as Gloucestershire were hustled out in 18.2 overs.

A flurry of late boundaries by Matt Taylor (27 from 14) lifted the home side to 124, but that never looked enough and, although Gloucestershire threatened a fightback thanks to David Payne’s 3-17, Albert saw his side home with 19 balls to spare.

Luc Benkenstein and Shane Snater shared an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 45 to dig Essex out of trouble after they had slumped to 123-8 in pursuit of 167 against Glamorgan.

Adam Rossington gave Essex a bristling start with 48 from 24 balls, but Glamorgan spinners Mason Crane (4-25) and Marnus Labuschagne (3-35) oversaw a collapse before Benkenstein (35 not out) and Snater (20 not out) turned the tide.

Earlier, Colin Ingram’s knock of 52 from 29 enabled Glamorgan to recover from 14-2 as they totalled 166-8, with Dan Sams taking 3-28 and Paul Walter 3-33 for the home side.