By Chris Devine
Ryan ten Doeschate and Shaun Tait stole the show as Essex Eagles defeated Notts Outlaws by 47 runs to secure the last place at Friends Life t20 finals day.
Ten Doeschate cracked 82 from just 44 deliveries to underpin a healthy total of 187 for six after the Eagles had been inserted.
A somewhat streaky 61 from David Hussey just about kept Notts in the hunt, but the vastly experienced batsman then became the first victim in a Tait hat-trick as Notts lost their final five wickets in eight balls to be dismissed for 140 in the 18th over.
David Masters had done much to stem the Outlaws’ early momentum, removing Alex Hales, who smashed 31 off 12 balls, Michael Lumb and James Taylor in quick succession en route to figures of 3-26.
From that point on, Notts were always up against it and, despite giving Hussey three lives, Essex eventually triumphed with a degree of comfort to become the third side from the South Group in the last four.
Defending champions Hampshire Royals and Surrey had already qualified together with Midlands/Wales/West Group winners Northants Steelbacks. Essex will take on Northants in the semi-finals, with Hampshire facing Surrey.
On a belter of a surface at Trent Bridge, Essex were indebted to ten Doeschate and Ravi Bopara as they recovered from an early wobble.
Mark Pettini and Greg Smith departed in the final over of the batting powerplay to leave the score reading 46 for three, but the visitors’ fourth-wicket pair responded superbly with a rapid stand of 71.
Although Bopara holed out on 38 to become Jake Ball’s second victim, ten Doeschate, so strong on the leg side, could not be tamed and cleared the ropes on five occasions before being held at long-on in the final over.
Ian Butler was responsible for that wicket and finished with 3-23, but spinners Samit Patel and Graeme White came in for fearful punishment, conceding 98 runs between them.
Lumb was dropped at slip by Pettini off the first ball of the reply and that mistake looked likely to prove costly as Notts raced to 50 from 21 deliveries.
However, Hales had holed out off Masters just before that landmark arrived and the reliable seamer then had Lumb superbly caught behind by James Foster before Taylor picked out deep square-leg.
Patel’s miserable evening continued as he used up 12 balls in making two. The all-rounder was caught and bowled attempting to pull Tait and the required rate gradually rose as Hussey and Riki Wessels rebuilt.
Hussey survived a tough return chance to ten Doeschate on 33 and was twice missed by Tim Phillips in the deep either side of reaching 50.
Yet Phillips was able to hang on following a stunning piece of work by Bopara in the 16th over, which saw the England international catch Wessels and throw the ball back to his team-mate before stepping over the boundary rope.
Chris Read was run out three deliveries later and Essex landed a killer blow when Hussey, whose innings featured a trio of sixes, sent the ball skywards again to be held by ten Doeschate.
Tait had Butler caught at deep point next ball and then cleaned up White to complete his hat-trick.
It was Napier who provided the final blow by yorking Harry Gurney, although the contribution of Reece Topley, who bowled three overs for 12, should not be overlooked.
10:16pm - Northants Steelbacks will play Essex Eagles at finals day, while Hampshire Royals take on Surrey. The order of the matches will be revealed tomorrow.
10:06pm - The draw for finals day is coming up shortly, so stick with us for news of who will play who in the last four.
Notts Outlaws Innings
Start the car! Essex Eagles go to Finals Day! https://t.co/fJU14RY9LA
— Essex Cricket (@EssexCricket) August 8, 2013
9:54pm - WICKET! Gurney b Napier 0; Notts 140 all out - ESSEX WIN BY 47 RUNS - Napier yorks Harry Gurney to round off a fine Essex display. A tight finish looked to be on the cards, only for Notts to lose their last five wickets in eight balls!
9:52pm - WICKET! White b Tait 0; Notts 140/9 - IT'S A HAT-TRICK FOR SHAUN TAIT!!! The paceman cleans up Graeme White and Essex are one wicket from victory!
9:50pm - WICKET! Butler c Smith b Tait 1; Notts 139/8 - Two in two for Tait as Smith hangs on, just about, at deep point!
9:49pm - WICKET! Hussey c ten Doeschate b Tait 61; Notts 139/7 - That could well be that! Hussey offers up yet another chance to deep midwicket and ten Doeschate makes no mistake!
9:47pm - WICKET! Read run out 0; Notts 137/6 - Hussey may still be there but Essex grab another key breakthrough as Tait runs out Read.
9:46pm - Phillips gets a second opportunity, but again fails to catch Hussey when diving forward. Hussey then cracks a straight six! Will Essex rue their missed chances?
9:44pm - WICKET! Wessels c Phillips (assist Bopara) b ten Doeschate 22; Notts 127/5 - Stunning work from Bopara! He hangs on to a steepling chance at deep midwicket and manages to throw the ball into the hands of Phillips before stepping over the boundary rope. Notts require 61 from 26 as Chris Read arrives to support Hussey.
9:41pm - FIFTY! Hussey (33b 3x4 2x6) - Ten Doeschate's fourth over starts with a six from Hussey, who then gets a second life when Tim Phillips puts down a relative sitter in the deep! The Australian duly moves to 50.
9:39pm - The fifty stand arrives, but it has taken 41 balls. Tall left-armer Topley is doing a stunning job for Essex. He ends his third over with figures of 0-12 and Notts now need 70 from 30.
9:36pm - You would be brave to write off Notts with Hussey still at the crease, but the present target - 76 from 36 balls - is a mighty tough ask. Masters completes his night's work with 3-26.
9:31pm - Hussey, on 33, hammers the ball back to ten Doeschate, who almost clings on to a stunner in his followthrough. That would have been a massive wicket for Essex.
9:29pm - The squeeze is on, with Notts perhaps aware they cannot afford to lose many more wickets ahead of the closing overs. Topley and Tait give up five apiece in their latest sets and the required rate is now above 11.
Big over for Notts, at the half way point they're 87-4. Huss 27* Riki 7*. 10.1 runs an over required #OutlawsFLt20
— Nottinghamshire CCC (@TrentBridge) August 8, 2013
9:20pm - Riki Wessels is the new partner for Hussey, who has raced to 27. The Outlaws reach halfway on 87 for four. Essex only had 74 at this stage, but ten Doeschate and Bopara then went into overdrive. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the punishment meted out to Patel and Graeme White, Essex have yet to turn to spin.
9:10pm - WICKET! Patel c & b Tait 2; Notts 64/4 - Notts are in bother now. Patel's miserable night continues; he splices an attempted pull off Tait and offers up a simple return catch. The all-rounder used up 12 balls in making two, having earlier conceded 54 runs with the ball.
9:06pm - Much now depends on whether Patel and David Hussey can share a partnership to match the one between Ryan ten Doeschate and Ravi Bopara in Essex's innings. Hussey picks up his first boundary when ten Doeschate comes on to bowl. Notts are 59 for three after seven.
In strides the man of the match. David Hussey is the key!
— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) August 8, 2013
9:01pm - WICKET! Taylor c Phillips b Masters 0; Notts 51/3 - The Eagles get Taylor for a duck anyway! He holes out to deep square-leg and Masters has 3-8!
8:59pm - Essex are convinced they have James Taylor caught behind off Reece Topley for a golden duck, but umpire Nigel Llong remains unmoved. It’s still a fine start from the teenage left-armer as just one run comes from the over.
8:55pm - WICKET! Lumb c Foster b Masters 19; Notts 50/2 - Masters strikes again, although this time he is aided by a stunning piece of glovework from James Foster. Stood up to the seamer, Foster reacts superbly to pouch a thin edge off Lumb.
8:52pm - WICKET! Hales c Smith b Masters 31; Notts 46/1 - Hales elegantly drives David Masters down the ground to reach 31 from 11 balls before sending a pull skywards to be caught at deep midwicket. Samit Patel replaces his fellow England cap and watches on as Lumb pulls powerfully to take Notts to 50.
8:50pm - This is just what Notts need! Hales flicks, drives and cuts his way to four successive boundaries off Napier, the second a huge six down the ground. Lumb subsequently clears the infield on the off side to make it 23 from the over.
8:45pm - Shaun Tait’s first delivery is carved away for four by Lumb, who drives through cover two balls later. Hales gets lucky when a top-edged pull lands safely on the edge of the ring at midwicket. Notts end the second over on 19 without loss.
8:41pm - Graham Napier was the unfortunate bowler and his mood would not have improved when Hales got off the mark with a pulled six. That has to go down as an eventful first over.
8:38pm - Goodness me! Lumb is dropped first ball by Mark Pettini at slip! That could prove extremely costly.
8:37pm - Michael Lumb and Alex Hales come out to open the Notts innings. A brisk start is surely needed if the hosts are to progress to the last four and this pair can usually be relied on to provide one.
Essex Eagles Innings
8:28pm - END OF INNINGS - Ess 187/6 - This may be a good pitch, but Notts will have to bat very well if they are to reach finals day. Butler's final return of 3-23 is highly impressive and Gurney also kept things tight. However, the slow bowlers came in for fearful punishment.
8:24pm - WICKET! Ten Doeschate c Ball b Butler 82; Ess 183/6 - A truly outstanding 44-ball knock from ten Doeschate ends when he picks out long-on the ball after claiming his fifth maximum.
8:22pm - The Outlaws spinners have been taken apart. Patel drops the sharpest of return chances from ten Doeschate moments after the batsman had smacked another six. Poor old Samit finishes with 0-54 and fellow slow bowler White conceded 44 in his allocation. With one over remaining, Essex are up to a very handy 176.
8:18pm - Another impressive over from a Notts seamer, Gurney on this occasion, prevents the Eagles from accelerating as they would like.
8:13pm - Just two runs comes from Butler's latest successful over. Essex are 154 for five after 17. Can they get up to 185?
8:10pm - WICKET! Foster c White b Butler 8; Ess 152/5 - Foster skies to long-off at the start of the 17th over. While some Notts bowlers boast dreadful figures, Butler has 2-10. Here comes Graham Napier.
8:06pm - FIFTY! ten Doeschate (30b 3x4 3x6) - A slower delivery from Ball is clubbed back over the bowler’s head by ten Doeschate for a stunning maximum. The Dutchman flicks the next ball into the stand at midwicket to pass 50 in style!
8:04pm - It hasn't been a great day for Patel so far. He ends his third over with figures of 0-39 and Essex have 134 with 30 balls to come. James Foster is alongside ten Doeschate.
7:58pm - WICKET! Bopara c Butler b Ball 38; Ess 118/4 - We have a potentially decisive moment as Bopara holes out to long-on.
7:57pm - What a partnership this is turning into! Bopara and ten Doeschate collect 16 in White's final set of six and Essex now look on course for an imposing total. The last three overs have brought 44!
7:54pm - Bopara may have been culpable for Smith's dismissal, but he is more than making up for it now! He takes Patel for four and six in the 12th over, which ends with Essex 102 for three.
7:49pm - Facing the left-arm spin of Graeme White, Bopara only just clears the fielder at extra-cover. He plays a much better shot off Ball in the next over, flicking the seamer over backward square-leg for Essex’s eighth four. The visitors have 74 on the board at halfway, but ten Doeschate then provides a welcome boost by clearing the ropes at long-on and following up with a swept four.
7:42pm - The Eagles are in a bit of a pickle now. Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate, who has just survived a strong lbw appeal from Butler, need to rebuild but it is important runs continue to come swiftly.
We have completed 7 overs now at Trent Bridge and Essex are 52-3. Butler continues...
— Essex Cricket (@EssexCricket) August 8, 2013
7:35pm - WICKET! Smith run out 21; Ess 46/3 - Oh dear, Ravi Bopara. The England international calls Smith through for a quick single, but then changes his mind to leave the opener stranded mid-pitch. Notts' third breakthrough comes at the end of the powerplay.
7:32pm - WICKET! Pettini lbw Butler 13; Ess 46/2 - Smith welcomes Ian Butler into the attack with a superb lofted shot down the ground for four. The bowler responds by trapping Pettini lbw on the back foot.
7:29pm - The Trent Bridge surface looks good, so Essex may well need a big score. After five overs, they are 41 for one.
7:24pm - WICKET! Rutherford c Read b Ball 10; Ess 26/1 - Jake Ball takes over from Patel and finds appreciable bounce to have New Zealand international Rutherford caught behind. Mark Pettini is the new batsman and fortunate to edge past diving wicketkeeper Chris Read first ball. Another thick nick through the vacant first slip region subsequently brings four more for the right-hander.
7:18pm - Essex are up and running now. Smith and Rutherford each pick up fours off Samit Patel in an over yielding 14 runs.
7:13pm - Left-arm seamer Harry Gurney concedes just five in the first over of the game. In a change to the order listed below, Essex have Greg Smith opening with Hamish Rutherford.
Teams are out Nottinghamshire CCC - time for the action to commence https://t.co/9qd4kIoAPb
— Essex Cricket (@EssexCricket) August 8, 2013
Good start for Notts. Won the toss, advantage to the men in green and gold!
— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) August 8, 2013
7:05pm - This is the first meeting between Notts and Essex in t20 cricket. A big crowd is in place at Trent Bridge and it is almost time for play to begin.
6:57pm - After topping the North Group, Notts will start this game as many people's favourites. Six of their top seven have played international cricket and openers Alex Hales and Michael Lumb are England's incumbent pair in the shortest format.
However, it would be foolish to write off Essex. Any team boasting dangerous players such as Graham Napier, Ravi Bopara and Shaun Tait should not be underestimated.
6:50pm - Here are the teams for this evening's encounter:
Notts Outlaws: Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, James Taylor, Riki Wessels, Samit Patel, David Hussey, Chris Read, Ian Butler, Graeme White, Jake Ball, Harry Gurney.
Essex Eagles: Hamish Rutherford, Mark Pettini, Greg Smith, Ravi Bopara, Ryan ten Doeschate, James Foster, Graham Napier, Tim Phillips, David Masters, Shaun Tait, Reece Topley.
6:40pm - Good evening and welcome to ecb.co.uk's live coverage of the last Friends Life t20 quarter-final. Notts Outlaws and Essex Eagles are ready to do battle at Trent Bridge for the right to join Surrey, Northants Steelbacks and Hampshire Royals at finals day. Notts have won the toss and will bowl first.