Notts Outlaws guaranteed a home quarter-final in the Friends Life t20 by virtue of a 60-run win over Lancashire Lightning in their final group match at Trent Bridge.
Alex Hales scored 82 as the home side reached 194 for six having been invited to bat.
The opener cleared the ropes on six occasions and also hit three fours in his 52-ball innings but was visibly distraught when a Tom Smith direct hit from deep midwicket ran him out with five overs remaining.
Still without a t20 century on his personal CV, having made an England-record 99 against West Indies last June, it was obvious from Hales' reaction that he knew a golden opportunity had slipped away.
A 35-minute stoppage disrupted the Lancashire reply after 11.2 overs yet, at that stage, they were already struggling at 87 for six, with Graeme White claiming four of the wickets to fall.
It took Notts just a little more than five overs to finish off the visitors' innings after the restart, eventually bowling them out for only 134 with 19 deliveries unused.
Glen Chapple was the eighth man out, chopping on to his own stumps to give White figures of 5-22, the finest by any Nottinghamshire bowler in t20 cricket. His average of 9.35, meanwhile, is the best in this year's competition.
Harry Gurney then blasted his way through Arron Lilley's defences before Samit Patel ended the contest by having Ashwell Prince caught in the deep by a sliding Steven Mullaney.
Michael Lumb had been quickly out of the blocks at the start of the afternoon, striking three maximums in a 15-ball 30 and helping Hales put on 59 for the Outlaws' first wicket in the process.
Although the innings lost some of its momentum after Hales’ departure, the final total was imposing, especially when Stephen Moore chipped the first ball of the reply straight back to Patel.
Tom Smith made 22 and Steven Croft 23 but both were among White's victims as Lancashire's middle order struggled badly against the spinner.
Both counties must now wait for Wednesday's quarter-final draw, with Notts having finished top of the group and second-placed Lancashire left contemplating an away trip in the last eight.