Alex Hales bade a temporary goodbye to the T20 Blast by inspiring Nottinghamshire Outlaws to a thumping victory over Birmingham Bears in tonight's curtain-raiser.
The England batsman, who now jets off to play for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, smashed 86 off 43 balls to see Notts home with eight wickets and more than five overs to spare at Trent Bridge.
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Captain Varun Chopra had earlier made a more watchful 80 as the defending champions posted 141-7, but Hales hit six maximums in a row and seven in eight balls to make light work of that target.
The players never got back out at Chester-le-Street as Durham began their campaign with a 41-run victory on the Duckworth-Lewis method.
Lancashire were in trouble at 36-3, but skipper Steven Croft got them out of a hole by hitting 70 off 39 balls to secure them a five-wicket win in the final over.
Glamorgan and Gloucestershire were the big winners in the South division, with the Welsh outfit posting this evening's high score of 240-3 against Surrey thanks to a 47-ball 91 from South African Colin Ingram and contributions from Jacques Rudolph (62) and Christopher Cooke (46).
Surrey lost last season's top scorer Jason Roy cheaply and four wickets for Dean Cosker saw the hosts reduced to 129-6 at The Oval. Zafar Ansari made 67 at better than two runs a ball, but Surrey fell 25 shy of their daunting target.
Former England opener Nick Compton had scored 78 at Bristol to put the capital outfit in a good position, but Hamish Marshall contributed 56 in support of Cockbain as Gloucs prevailed in a hard-fought game.
Elsewhere, Hampshire made a successful start as they recorded a 17-run win over Essex Eagles. Jimmy Adams led the way for Hants with an unbeaten 55, and Ryan ten Doeschate's 68 was largely a solo effort in reply.
Durham Jets (174-8) beat Northants Steelbacks (47-5) by 41 runs on the D/L method
Gloucestershire (179-3) beat Middlesex Panthers (175-3) by seven wickets
Lancashire Lightning (142-5) beat Leicestershire Foxes (131-7) by five wickets
Nottinghamshire Outlaws (142-2) beat Birmingham Bears (141-7) by eight wickets
Glamorgan (240-3) beat Surrey (215 a/o) by 25 runs
Hampshire (173-4) beat Essex Eagles (156 a/o) by 17 runs
Kent Spitfires (185-9) beat Sussex Sharks (178-6) by seven runs
Yorkshire Vikings (131-3) beat Derbyshire Falcons (128 a/o) by seven wickets