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T20 Blast roundup: Alex Hales destroys defending champions Birmingham Bears

Sports Mole rounds up the opening round of the T20 Blast as Alex Hales destroys Birmingham Bears to get Nottinghamshire Outlaws off to a winning start.

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.

Alex Hales of Nottinghamshire hits the ball towards the boundary, as Tim Ambrose of Warwickshire looks on during the NatWest T20 Blast match between Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire at Trent Bridge on May 15, 2015© Getty Images

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.

Yorkshire Vikings and Durham Jets were also convincing winners in the North division as the former chased down Derbyshire Falcons' 128 all out with ease.

Seventeen-year-old seamer Matthew Fisher took 5-22 for Yorkshire and Andrew Gale (41) and Jonny Bairstow (40 not out) got the job done with the bat.

Phil Mustard and Calum MacLeod scored half-centuries as Durham posted 174-8 and then reduced Northants Steelbacks to 47-5 before the rain came down.

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.

The weather also affected Lancashire Lightning's game against Leicestershire Foxes, who had Ireland international Kevin O'Brien top score with 47 as they managed 131-7 in their reduced 15 overs.

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.

Ian Cockbain matched Ingram's 91 as Gloucestershire chased down Middlesex Panthers' 175-3 in 19 overs.

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.

Luke Wright's stint as Sussex Sharks skipper began with defeat as Kent Spitfires scraped to a seven-run victory at Canterbury.

England prospect Sam Billings (46) led a team effort from Kent and Sussex came up just short despite 61 from Chris Nash and thirties from Wright and Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardene.

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.

Full results:

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

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Luke Wright of Sussex hits out while Mark Wallace of Glamorgan looks on during the Natwest T20 Blast match between Sussex Sharks and Glamorgan at The County Ground on July 15, 2014
Read Next:
T20 Blast roundup: Sussex in record run chase

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