Nottinghamshire 184 for 6 (Duckett 53*, Clarke 51) beat Durham 183 for 8 by four wickets
Nottinghamshire Outlaws' last desperate hopes of a seventh successive T20 quarter-final berth finally vanished despite a comfortable victory over Durham Jets by four wickets in the Vitality Blast at Trent Bridge. Amongst other things, they needed a tie, no less, in Leicester to retain any hope but Leicester just refused to oblige.
It was at least a rousing farewell for Dan Christian, their departing veteran captain who led the Outlaws to T20 glory in 2017 and 2020. He could revel in watching 51 from 30 balls for Joe Clarke and Ben Duckett's unbeaten 53 from 34 that helped bring success at the gallop with three overs to spare.
Christian's fellow Australian and opposite number, Ashton Turner, threatened to upstage things earlier with a rapid 33 as Durham's third wicket added 54 in five overs but Steven Mullaney removed him and two new batters in four balls as the Jets backfired.
From 98 for five with 51 balls to come, Michael Jones, the opener, reached 41 until brilliantly caught on the mid-wicket rope by Mullaney off Jake Ball and Durham finished with 183 for eight, late-order hitting bringing 70 from the final six overs. It proved far from enough.
The evening had started painfully when the opening delivery, from Ball, cut back to strike Graham Clark flush in the box, flooring him and causing a three-minute delay for treatment. Durham, already out of quarter-final contention, chose to bat but lost Clark, slicing his drive for 14, and Ollie Robinson, who skied a swipe to the keeper, as Ball conceded only four in the fifth over.
But in the later charge, Brydon Carse, batting at No.7, was dropped off Ball when twelve before surging to 25 from 17 balls when becoming Lyndon James's maiden T20 scalp, whilst Ned Eckersley finished unbeaten with 23 from a dozen balls. Andrew Tye hit two sixes in his not-out 13.
Even by the second over of the reply, however, with Liam Trevaskis taken for 19, the target seeemed less than daunting. The left-arm spinner had revenge of sorts when Alex Hales top-edged a sweep to go for 26 but the Outlaws had struck as many sixes in the reply's first 47 balls as the Jets managed in their entire innings.
Clarke, who had creamed 53 with Hales in 26 balls for the first wicket on a typically good Nottingham pitch with short boundaries inviting mayhem, then added another 55 in 35 balls with Duckett.
Eventually miscueing against a leg-break from the Australian, Nathan Sowter, Clarke gave way to Mullaney, another victim of spin when soon stumped by Robinson off Trevaskis next over. James arrived to send his third and fifth balls for six off Carse and at the end of an over that cost 16, only 46 were needed from the final 42 balls.
James fell smiting for 20 but, maintaining the tempo, Tom Moores hit his first four balls for boundaries until magnificently caught by Sowter who took the ball jumping on the boundary, threw it up before crossing the rope then grasped it again back on the field. Dramatic, indeed. But not enough, even though Sol Budinger fell stumped with three needed.