Holders Worcestershire Rapids are through to the final of the Vitality Blast in the most dramatic of circumstances after a one run win over Notts Outlaws at Edgbaston.
A sensational final over from Worcestershire paceman Wayne Parnell saw the Rapids over the finishing line.
It all came down to the final delivery from Parnell to Ben Duckett with the Outlaws needing a single to level the scores and go through by virtue of having lost less wickets.
But Duckett missed the delivery which flew through to Ben Cox standing up, no run was scored and the Rapids squeezed home.
It was another example of them holding their nerve in the tightest of circumstances.
The Rapids were able to SET the Outlaws a 148 target on a slowish pitch after some late order hitting from Ross Whiteley.
Whiteley made 36 off 24 deliveries with three sixes to help the Rapids reach in their 20 overs with Riki Wessels (34) the other main contributor.
Skipper Moeen Ali conceded just 13 runs in his full spell while Pat Brown (4-0-21-2) was also very economical and picked up two wickets in the penultimate over.
But a half century from Alex Hales and Duckett’s contribution looked to be just enough for the Outlaws until Parnell’s final over.
The first ball was a dot, the second and third deliveries conceded a single apiece, the fourth two runs and the fifth one run before the finale was the cue for great celebrations from players and supporters alike.
The Rapids made three changes from the side which defeated Sussex Sharks in the quarter-final with Hamish Rutherford, Parnell and Brett D’Oliveira returning to the side.
The Rapids were put into bat and Rutherford and Wessels collected nine runs from the opening over bowled by Luke Wood who was part of the 2019 winning squad on loan from the Outlaws.
Rutherford (5) was caught at cover by Alex Hales in the second over bowled by spinner Matt Carter.
Moeen Ali made a spectacular entry to proceedings, striking the second and third deliveries from Carter for six over long on.
Wessels then showed his class with a regal cover drive for four at Wood’s expense and Moeen greeted Harry Gurney’s arrival into the attack with a third six – again over long on.
He raced to 21 off nine balls but was then bowled by Carter after aiming a blow over mid wicket with the total 45-2.
Wessels drilled Wood through the covers to the boundary to bring up the Rapids half century in 5.2 overs and the total stood on 54-2 at the conclusion of the powerplay.
After some tight overs from Samit Patel and Steven Mullaney, Parnell struck the latter over the long off boundary only to be caught deep cover by Dan Christian in the same over.
Ben Cox (1) – the semi-final and final man of the match in 2018 – nicked a widish delivery from Christian through to keeper Tom Moores in the next over.
Wessels made a responsible 34 and in the process passed 400 Blast runs for the summer before he aimed to hit Mullaney on the on side and was bowled via an inside edge.
It became 91-6 when D’Oliveira (7) used his feet to Carter but was bowled in the 14th over.
Ed Barnard (4) was run out by Joe Clarke’s direct hit after Whiteley had turned the ball to backward point.
Whiteley retaliated by striking Carter for six over long on to bring up the Rapids 100 in the 16th over.
The left hander tucked into Mullaney with 6-4-6- off successive deliveries in the next over.
Whiteley eventually fell in the final over from Gurney – caught by Wood at deep square leg – and Daryl Mitchell (13) departed at cover after lofting the previous ball for a six over long on.
When the Outlaws began their reply, Moeen bowled a tight opening over which yielded just three runs.
It was Ed Barnard who broke an opening stand of 51 between Chris Nash (24) and Alex Hales in the sixth over when the former turned a delivery around the corner to Mitchell at backward square leg.
Some tight overs from Mitchell, Moeen and Pat Brown dragged the scoring rate back as Hales completed a 39 ball half century.
Moeen made the second breakthrough when Hales (52) was caught behind by Cox with exactly 100 on the board in the 14th over.
The 19th over from Brown proved crucial with Tom Moores (1) and Dan Christian (15) dismissed and then Steven Mullaney (0) was run out without facing a ball.
It set up the nerve-jangling finale – and Parnell did not fail.