Royal London Cup 2014: Ben Stokes cuts loose to sweep dynamic Durham into final

Durham 353-8 Nottinghamshire 270 (Durham win by 83 runs): England all-rounder hits whirlwind 164 off 113 balls to see off Nottinghamshire in One-Day Cup
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The Independent Online

Durham smashed their one-day batting records, courtesy of a magnificent 164 by Ben Stokes, as they swept to an 83-run win in yesterday's Royal London Cup semi-final against Nottinghamshire at Chester-le-Street.

The total of 353 for 8 was 21 more than Durham had managed before in a one-day match, and Stokes broke his own record for the highest individual score – the 150 not out he made in a 40-over league match at Edgbaston in 2011.

Nottinghamshire, who won the Yorkshire Bank 40 final at Lord's last season, slipped to 21 for two in reply and were all out for 270, despite another sparkling century from James Taylor. He followed his unbeaten 146 in the quarter-final win against Derbyshire by making 114 before he was last out in the 47th over. But he was involved in two calamitous run-outs straight after he and Chris Read had taken 20 off the 39th over, bowled by Chris Rushworth.

The 30-over scores were identical on 158 for three and in the next over Samit Patel reached 50 with a six off Gareth Breese. The ball was caught on the midwicket boundary by Calum MacLeod, but his foot had touched the rope.

The stand with Taylor was worth 97, but Patel sat back to cut the next ball and edged to Phil Mustard. That proved crucial as the pressure to match Durham's late onslaught saw Riki Wessels drive Breese to long-on. James Franklin cracked a catch to extra cover before Read and Ajmal Shahzad were run out.

After losing three of their first four games in the competition, Durham will face Warwickshire on 20 September, hoping for a repeat of their one previous appearance in a Lord's final, when they beat Hampshire in the 2007 Friends Provident Trophy.

Stokes' 113-ball blitz yesterday included six sixes. Dropped on 12 by Read, off Steven Mullaney, his first 50 came off 47 balls, the second off 37 and the third off 21. He dominated a fourth-wicket stand of 135 with Mustard, who was run out for 89 in the 40th, but by that stage Nottinghamshire did not know where to bowl at Stokes.

Mark Stoneman launched Durham's innings with 36 off 29 balls before Luke Fletcher switched ends and swung one in to bowl the opener off his pads with the score on 61.

Stokes went in at 92 for three in the 15th over and scored 70 of the next 87 runs. Mullaney and Patel kept things reasonably tight until Stokes drove the left-arm spinner to the extra-cover boundary then launched him over long-on for six. That was the only maximum in his 84-ball hundred, but five more followed before he fell to the last ball of the 49th over, driving Shahzad to long-on.

In the fourth over of the reply Michael Lumb edged John Hastings to Mustard, then Rushworth nipped one back to bowl Mullaney. Sam Wood, sent in at No 3, made 22 off 33 balls before he fell lbw trying to sweep in Breese's first over. The off-spinner finished with three for 53 and will fulfil his wish to end his 11-year Durham career at Lord's.

PA

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