Durham 156 for 6 (Stokes 56) beat Yorkshire 149 for 9 (Lyth 64, Wood 4-25, Rushworth 3-19) by seven runs
Mark Wood's menace got Durham into a NatWest Blast semi-final - and there was no let-up once Finals Day dawned as he bowled Durham to a stunning seven-run victory against Yorkshire in a high-quality match at Edgbaston.
Two ankle operations and nagging fears that his season might be over were pushed aside as Wood, once again looking as hostile as any fast bowler in the country, ended Yorkshire's hopes of a treble with figures of 4 for 25, his best in T20, in three excellent spells delivered to order for Durham's captain Paul Collingwood.
So the Blast final became a contest between two of the most financially stricken countries in the country - Northants and Durham - both of whom have had to rise above their issues and who proved far from bankrupt on the field on a Birmingham day of tormenting heavy showers.
Yorkshire's defeat also came with an injury to David Willey which will concern England ahead of the one-day series against Pakistan. A ferocious return drive from Mark Stoneman in his second over struck him on his left wrist, a technical chance that would have ended the involvement of lesser men. A break must be feared.
Unlike in their quarter-final victory against Glamorgan in Cardiff, Yorkshire could easily cover the absence of an overseas player - Travis Head having been summoned by Australia for the one-day series in Sri Lanka - by the influx of three England batsmen: Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance.
Indeed, by fielding them all their balance was batting heavy, relying on three pace bowlers plus the spin of Azeem Rafiq and Adil Rashid with no seam-bowling cover. With Rashid scheduled to bat at No 10, there was an argument for omitting Ballance, England player or not, for an extra seamer, especially with the weather so grouchy.
Such batting insurance, though, looked invaluable the moment that Wood took the new ball for Durham. Fit and fresh, recovered from an injury-disrupted season, the England fast bowler was a hostile proposition.
There were nerves around in Yorkshire's early forays: 30 for 2 with five overs spent. Willey could summon no heroics with the bat, removing his bottom hand as a leg-side swing at Chris Rushworth skied to extra cover. Root's charge-pull at Rushworth became a comfortable catch in the leg side. "It looked as if I had my hands and feet on backwards - I couldn't get settled," Root said. Rushworth had shrewdly nipped in beneath the new-ball storm
Leaky first overs from Usman Arshad and Scott Borthwick settled Yorkshire and even though Alex Lees dragged a googly from Borthwick to a pumped-up Ben Stokes at deep midwicket, Yorkshire's 77 for 3 at halfway gave them a slight edge.
But Collingwood, summoned Wood for a third over to devastating effect. He immediately cleaned up Bairstow with an 89mph yorker and then Ballance followed for a second-ball duck as the Durham skipper, 40 years old and carrying several injuries, pulled off a brilliant diving catch to his left at leg gully.
With 39 needed off four, Collingwood again hunted wickets. The admirable Rushworth returned to defeat Adam Lyth with a slower ball, caught at backward point for 64 from 42 balls. Jack Leaning, signalling in his stance his long-on intent against Arshad, failed to clear the boundary.
The final assault never happened and, with 23 needed from two, Wood struck the stumps of Liam Plunkett and Tim Bresnan in turn to settle the tie.
Durham were indebted to Stokes for setting Yorkshire 157. Stokes pulverised the leg side in his muscular 56 from 36 balls, batting at No. 3, until one of his few forays into the off side saw him make room against the offspin of Rafiq and, to his obvious irritation, crack a long hop to Bresnan at cover.
Stokes had not played a competitive match since injuring a calf during the second Test against Pakistan almost a month ago and he only had permission to bat with England taking a conservative view ahead of their Royal London one-day series against Pakistan.
Yorkshire's lack of bowling options might have been exposed by Willey's injury. He does not easily grimace, and continued his spell after painkillers and a defiant slug of water. After leaving the field briefly, he returned to finish his overs - one of the better 0 for 25s of the season - much to the relief of Yorkshire's captain, Lees, no doubt.
By then the persistent squally showers had intensified, giving Willey time to strap an injured wrist which, if worst fears are realised, could rule him out of England's limited-overs matches against Pakistan, a potential Royal London Cup final (England's call had already excluded him from next Sunday's semi-final against Surrey at Headingley) and Yorkshire's Championship run-in.
Durham were 60 for 2 in nine overs at the rain break, the tie evenly poised. Yorkshire could also thank Rafiq for that. Relishing his second coming at Yorkshire, his ambition to bowl his offspin in the Powerplay gives Yorkshire welcome flexibility and he dismissed Keaton Jennings in his first over, well stumped down the leg side by Bairstow, who adjusted superbly to a big flick off the pad. On the resumption, however, he a bungled stumping when Rashid drew Michael Richardson, on 3, down the pitch.
Yorkshire were left with an uncomfortable period of spin with a wet ball which skidded on invitingly before the seamers could return for the closing overs. Stokes had no compunction in peppering the leg side, while Richardson hunted the off side until Rashid ended a stand of 72 in 42 balls with an lbw.