Yorkshire Vikings were unable to defend a total of 200 for five against Nottinghamshire Outlaws at Headingley, their six-wicket defeat with four balls remaining costing them a place in the quarter-finals of the NatWest T20 Blast.
Nottinghamshire’s ninth win in North Group left them in second place to Lancashire and they will now take on Hampshire at Trent Bridge for a Finals’ Day place.
Man-of-the match Alex Hales laid the foundation for the Outlaw’s reply with a well-struck 67 but it was captain James Taylor’s late assault on Ryan Sidebottom in the 19th over that really knocked the stuffing out of the home side as he thrashed three consecutive fours and a six.
Yorkshire’s demise came as a bitter blow to the majority in the 8,662 crowd who felt certain their side would progress after Australian Aaron Finch signed off with a blistering 89 from 46 balls with seven sixes and four fours.
Finch, who has to report to an Australian training camp by August 3, delighted the fans with some ferocious hitting, his runs coming off just 46 balls with seven sixes and four fours after Yorkshire had won the toss and batted first on a good batting pitch.
It was the powerful right-hander’s best T20 knock for Yorkshire, narrowly beating his stunning 88 from 55 balls in the Roses clash at Old Trafford.
Finch appeared all set for a chanceless century until he flicked at a leg-side delivery from James Franklin and was brilliantly caught by wicket-keeper Chris Read diving far to his left.
The opening batsman signalled his intentions from the start by hammering Ajmal Shahzad’s first thee balls for a six and two fours but it was after Kane Williamson and Alex Lees had both departed lbw to Jake Ball to make it 51 for two inside six overs that he really began to build up his score in a stand of 81 in eight overs with Jonathan Bairstow.
He lost the ball with an on-drive for six against Samit Patel and as soon as another ball came into play he blasted it over the rope at long off, just above Franklin’s head.
After Finch had gone, Bairstow continued to make batting look easy and it was the last ball of the innings before he was out, caught on the boundary edge by Steven Mullaney for 60 from 34 deliveries with five fours and a six.
Nottinghamshire never flinched in going for their 201 target and each of their six batsmen to reach the crease made important contributions.
Mullaney was first out at 32, caught on the boundary by Lees off Tim Bresnan, but Hales and Riki Wessels then cracked 70 in eight over before Lees took another catch to send back Wessels, this time off Azeem Rafiq.
When Hales was dismissed by Bresnan, caught at deep mid-wicket by Rafiq, his runs coming off 40 balls with six fours and three sixes, Nottinghamshire were 131 for three and the departure of Patel for 26 left them on 162 for four in 17.1 overs.
But Taylor and Franklin went about their task so furiously that the last 38 runs gushed off 11 balls, Taylor’s unbeaten 36 coming off 14 balls with six fours and a six and Franklins 19 not out being comprised of three sixes and a single.