Notts Outlaws and Northamptonshire Steelbacks served up the most stunning advertisement for 50 overs cricket as both began their Royal London One-Day Cup in record-breaking fashion at Trent Bridge.
The home side eventually emerged victorious but not before the Steelbacks came within a whisker of chasing a formidable target of 446.
Michael Lumb and Riki Wessels both scored centuries as Notts powered their way to 445 for eight, their highest score in List A cricket.
Just 48 hours after the pair had put on 100 in the T20 Blast against Lancashire Lightning, they blew that stand out of the water with a partnership worth 342, the highest ever made in English List A cricket.
Lumb scored 184, making his runs from 150 deliveries, with 21 fours and six sixes, and Wessels hit 146 from 97 balls, with 14 fours and eight maximums, with both players reaching their highest one-day scores.
Although wickets fell with great regularity once the pair had departed, the eventual total easily surpassed the county’s previous best of 368 for two, made against Middlesex two years ago.
Lumb’s fifth one-day ton was his first since scoring 106 on his England ODI debut in Antigua in 2014 and his first in domestic cricket since 2009. His 184 is also a county record, bettering the unbeaten 167 made by Paul Johnson in 1993.
Neither opener offered a clear chance, although one or two mishits fell harmlessly into the outfield and a couple of run out opportunities went begging. That said, both batsmen deserved any good fortune that was going, due to their cleanness of their ball striking. No bowler was spared from the onslaught, with the boundary ropes being peppered with great regularity.
The previous highest Nottinghamshire stand for any wicket had been 217 but that had been beaten by a staggering 125 runs when Wessels lifted Steven Crook into the hands of Ben Sanderson at short third man.
Lumb left to a standing ovation after being bowled by Sanderson after trying to deflect the bowler down to fine leg.
Although wickets tumbled from then on, with Josh Cobb picking up three for 53, some muscular hitting from Dan Christian, 31 from 14 balls, and Samit Patel, 29 from 18, took the total way beyond 400.
Northants were handicapped by a shoulder injury to Richard Levi, which meant he didn’t bat until No 11. Rory Kleinveldt, nursing a calf injury, batted with a runner and almost helped the visitors pull of a stunning run chase.
He hit 128 from only 63 balls, smashing 10 fours and nine sixes to put Notts under real pressure, all after Adam Rossington had made 97 at the top of the order.
Kleinveldt’s incredible innings came to an end when he was superbly caught in the deep by sub fielder Anuj Dal, who had spent the day playing for Notts seconds at Hinckley, against Leicestershire.
Dal also caught Graeme White for 40, leaving 21 required from the final two overs but Harry Gurney kept his nerve to bowl Levi in the penultimate over.
Northants finished on 425 all out, leaving Notts winners by 20 runs. The match aggregate of 870 runs – another domestic record – contained a total of 35 sixes.
Lumb said: “It was an incredible match and hats off to Northants, they came out and pushed us to the wire. What a great game of cricket for everyone who rocked up to Trent Bridge today.
“It was one of those days when you walk out there and the stars are all aligned and you have a day out. It was a bit like that for me and Riki and we were able to put on a great partnership.
“That’s all we were trying to do, get the team off to a good start and today we kept on going and going.”
Northants head coach David Ripley added: “I’ve never seen anything like it. Obviously it wasn’t a game for the bowlers – on both sides.
“It was a great run chase from us, I don’t think I’ve ever come across such a dangerous score that’s been put in front of us and come so close.
“We’re very disappointed, we’re very proud of the way we chased.
“There’s areas with the ball that we need to dig a bit deeper but we’re proud of our efforts and there’s a lot of guys in there that have put in a lot of hard work.”