Nottinghamshire 206 for 6 (James 82, Hull 4-43) beat Leicestershire 214 for 9 (Mulder 84*, Loten 3-26, Hutton 3-42) by four wickets via DLS method
After winning their opening Group A matches so emphatically, Leicestershire found the going much tougher against their East Midlands neighbours, whose seam attack carried on where they had left off in dismissing Essex for 69 at Chelmsford last week.
The Foxes slipped from 27 without loss after five overs to 41 for 3 in the ninth, Rishi Patel chipping to cover off Hutton, who also drew Sol Budinger into nicking a ball outside off stump. Loten then uprooted skipper Lewis Hill’s off stump with his first delivery.
Hutton, who took 7 for 26 here in this fixture last season, picked up a third wicket with a ball that squeezed between bat and front pad to trap Colin Ackermann leg-before, leaving the Foxes 52 for 4.
Although there was clearly some help for the bowlers under an overcast sky, Peter Handscomb settled himself with three early boundaries and with two half-centuries to his name already in the competition looked in the form to lead a rebuilding job. Yet just as rain began to fall, the Australian was run out at the non-striker’s end when Dane Paterson deflected a Mulder drive into the stumps.
Two brief stoppages followed, in between which Louis Kimber, who had smashed 89 off 62 balls as the Foxes pulled off a record run-chase to beat Surrey at The Oval, perished for a six-ball duck, paying for lack of footwork as he was leg before to Loten.
The fightback, instead, was led by Mulder, with assistance from a lower order in which Tom Scriven’s 25 helped the seventh wicket add 62 before Roman Walker, Chris Wright and Hull stuck around long enough for Mulder to inflict some punishing blows, clearing the rope off Calvin Harrison, Hutton and Liam Patterson-White, who also conceded six to Walker.
Loten’s third wicket came when Scriven drove him in the air to mid-off, Walker was caught at long-off trying to attack Harrison’s legspin and Paterson had Wright well caught at extra cover by Haseeb Hameed.
Needing to score at slightly more than four-and-a-half an over, the Outlaws lost opener Ben Slater in the second over when he was bowled off an inside edge but were comfortably placed at 60 for one after 12 when the introduction of Hull dealt them a double setback.
The 6ft 7ins left-armer, still only 18, angled one in to bowl the left-handed Ben Martindale between bat and pad, ending a second-wicket stand of 51 with James. Two overs later, he dismissed the right-handed Hameed with a full length delivery, the ball cannoning into middle stump as the Outlaws skipper played across its line.
James, who had looked assured enough to that point, completed a seven-four half-century from 60 balls but was dropped on 51 – a chance to keeper Handscomb down the leg side as Mulder took over from Hull at the Bennett End, the bowler having been unlucky a couple of balls earlier when Montgomery edged just out of Handscomb’s reach on the off side.
Unfazed, James found the boundary twice on the leg side in Mulder’s next over to leave Nottinghamshire needing 90 from 18 overs, which looked well within their compass with seven wickets in hand, only to be thrown back into the balance when James aimed a big swing at Wright and was caught behind, throwing his wicket away somewhat, more so when Montgomery was undone by some extra bounce from Hull and was comfortably taken by Handscomb.
But then back-to-back sixes, one swatted away by new man Schadendorf off Mulder, the next an uppercut by Liam Patterson-White to a short ball by Hull, lifted the pressure off the Outlaws, who lost the latter when he was bowled making room to cut Hull. But Schadendorf hit two boundaries each off Scriven and then Hull in the next two overs to effectively finish the job.