The White Rose county failed to chase down 156 despite being 75-1 in the eleventh over, and ended up on 130-6 from their 20 overs, which included a top-score of 38 off 30 from Joe Sayers.
Azeem Rafiq’s side must now win all three of their remaining North Division matches, starting with Wednesday’s trip to Emirates Old Trafford to face Lancashire, and hope other results go their way as well.
Batting was not an easy task all afternoon because Notts also failed to get as many as they should have done. Having been invited to bat first, they were reasonably well placed at 99-3 in the 14th over, but only posted 155-8.
Their Australian captain David Hussey top-scored with 52 not out off 42 balls, while Rich Pyrah’s excellent 1-14 from four overs helped restrict them to a total Yorkshire would have been confident of chasing down.
And that confidence would have increased when Sayers and Dan Hodgson (32) helped counter the early loss of Adam Lyth in the first over to share 67 in 9.3 overs for the second wicket to build a platform for the second half of their chase.
But spin really did for Yorkshire. Notts left-arm spin duo Graeme White and Samit Patel returned figures of 2-18 and 2-19 from four overs respectively as the innings stalled.
They lost 3-14 to spin to slip from 90-2 to 104-5 as the run-rate spiraled above 10 per over. The loss of Andrew Hodd and Gary Ballance, lbw sweeping to White and caught at deep mid-wicket sweeping at Patel respectively, really put Yorkshire on the back foot.
The equation became an unrealistic 42 off the last two and 32 off the last.
Earlier, Rafiq and Liam Plunkett had both returned two wickets, but it was Pyrah’s spell which really brought Yorkshire back into things.
Notts had gone from 57-2 to 99-3 in the 14th over, but Pyrah halted their charge in a spell which included the wicket of Steven Mullaney, superbly caught by a diving Hodgson running in from the deep cover boundary to leave them four down and not yet 100.
After Rafiq had won the toss, Ryan Sidebottom had got Michael Lumb caught behind in the first over before Plunkett bowled Alex Hales as he backed away and had James Taylor smartly caught by Adil Rashid at mid-wicket.
Patel (46 off 37 balls) and Hussey, who hit four fours and a six, shared 42 for the fourth wicket inside seven overs to put their side in a healthy state on the verge of 100 and with the best part of seven overs to go.
But Patel was caught at long-on off Rafiq, who also had Chris Read caught by Hodgson at deep cover. Ian Butler and White were run out coming back for two in the last eight balls of the innings.
“Even if we win the last three, it’s still going to be difficult,” said off-spinner Rafiq.
“We’ve got a lot of pride to play for. We’ve now got Lancashire, and you don’t need something resting on it to know how big that game is. We’ve got three games to go, and we’ll give them everything.
“If by Sunday we’ve managed to get through, that’s brilliant. If not, we’ve got to concentrate on the rest of the season in other forms and work harder.
“I thought at halfway we gave ourselves a good chance, and at the end of the day we’ve not played spin well in the middle. That’s what has cost us the game,” added Rafiq.
“Joe & Hodgy were brilliant, but their spinners ended up going for less than 40 off their eight overs. That’s the game right there. I think we need to work harder to play against spin because that’s re-occurring every game. It’s something we’ve got to get better at.”
Yorkshire will require 156 to beat Nottinghamshire and throw qualification for the Friends Life t20 quarter-finals wide open.
The Outlaws only posted 155-8 having been well placed at 99-3 early in the 14th over. Liam Plunkett and Azeem Rafiq both claimed two wickets, while David Hussey finished 52 not out.
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