Notts Outlaws needed outside help before securing home advantage in the quarter-finals of the Vitality Blast.
With qualification for the knock-out stages already assured, the Outlaws slipped to an unexpected 47-run defeat to Durham at Trent Bridge but Worcestershire Rapids’ defeat to Northants Steelbacks kept Notts in second place in the table.
The Outlaws faded dramatically in pursuit of a victory target of 172 and were bowled out for just 124 in only 17.2 overs in front of a disappointed crowd of 13,078.
Tom Moores made 33 for the home side but lacked support, with Nathan Rimmington taking three for 15 for the visitors.
Dan Christian, Notts captain, admitted afterwards: “It was a disappointing batting performance but we’re through and that’s the main thing. That’s all we wanted and all we were really after from the start of the season – a home quarter. Thanks to Northants, they must have played really well there tonight to help us get over the line.
“Middlesex have had an unbelievable game chasing 220-odd at Taunton, so they’ll certainly be a challenge for us but on our home turf hopefully we can produce the home form that got us to this stage.”
Earlier, Durham posted 171 for eight, after opting to bat first, with Scott Steel making 45 from only 24 balls, with five fours and three sixes. Christian was the pick of the bowlers, taking three for 26.
Durham wasted little time in peppering the Trent Bridge boundaries via any means possible. From only the second ball of the match Steel played an exquisite switch-hit high into the stand.
The 20-year old dominated the strike as the visitors brought up their 50 in only 4.1 overs, with 18 coming from a single Harry Gurney over.
Notts struggled to stem the flow of big hits as 69 came from the powerplay overs but only one more run was added before Christian broke the opening partnership in the seventh over, having Steel caught in the deep by Jake Libby.
D’Arcy Short clubbed Carter away for another maximum and then did the same to Christian, before the Australian got the better of his countryman to dismiss him for 36.
Carter had been hit for 25 from his first two overs but he responded to finish with two for 37 as the batting side slid to 131 for five after 15 overs.
Pakistan international Imad Wasim, playing his first match since a short break back to his homeland to get married, bowled Gareth Harte to further damage north-east aspirations.
Graham Clark provided some late power-hitting, clearing the ropes three times in a 24-ball knock of 41, to set a challenging total.
The target seemed even further away as Durham struck twice through an unlikely source. Liam Trevaskis, with only 15 previous wickets in the format, celebrated as Joe Clarke drove to backward point and Ben Duckett – after clubbing two mighty sixes – hit to long-on for 17.
Rimmington reduced the hosts to 29 for three, as Alex Hales chopped on, for only eight but frustration followed his delight as Samit Patel was then dropped next ball, by Harry Adair.
Notts’ re-build was put on hold as Patel and Libby fell during the middle overs, leaving 96 still required from the final 10 overs.
Adair had his redemption, catching Christian off Matthew Potts and when Tom Moores fell the end came quickly.
News filtered through of Worcestershire’s defeat, closely followed by the confirmation that Middlesex – who have never played Notts in T20 cricket – will visit Trent Bridge next week on Thursday, 5th September.
THE TURNING POINT Ben Duckett looked in the mood to power Notts home but after hitting two sixes and a four he skied the next ball to long-on.
SHOT OF THE MATCH – Graham Clark’s late cameo included two glorious lofted sixes.
UNSUNG HERO Liam Trevaskis destroyed any early Notts’ momentum with the wickets of Clarke and Duckett.
WHAT’S NEXT: Notts Outlaws play their home quarter-final match against Middlesex on 5th September, whilst the Vitality Blast campaign has now ended for Durham.