Hussey fireworks finish Northants
Twenty20 Cup hotshot David Hussey fired Nottinghamshire into the finals day at their home ground as the Outlaws crushed Northamptonshire at Trent Bridge.
The Aussie batsman smashed 71 off 32 balls with five fours and five sixes in a third-wicket stand of 121 off just 56 balls with Samit Patel.
And junior partner Patel was far from a second fiddle, as he clubbed 65 off 38 balls including five fours and four maximums.
Their big-hitting contributions pushed Notts to their competition record 213 for six and once Ryan Sidebottom had removed both Northants openers in an excellent spell of two for 16, the Steelbacks were never in the hunt.
Lance Klusener thumped an unbeaten 72 in reply but Northants could only muster 150 for six, losing by 63 runs.
Despite losing opener Graeme Swann early on, Notts began their innings quickly thanks to skipper Stephen Fleming's punchy 39.
The Kiwi smashed former India captain Sourav Ganguly for two consecutive straight sixes, followed by another maximum over square leg, before holing out to wide midwicket.
That brought Hussey and Patel together and the pair proceeded to take apart the Northants bowling line-up, with spinners Jason Brown and Andrew White receiving particular punishment as they conceded 65 off their five overs.
Hussey eventually fell to a yorker from Klusener and three wickets went down in the final over from Ben Phillips.
First Patel was run out coming back for a second, and although Chris Read crashed a six over long on, the England hopeful was then caught on the midwicket boundary trying to repeat the shot.
Mark Ealham was last to go, caught by Matthew Nicholson off a huge skier from the final ball of the innings.
Left-arm seamer Sidebottom struck in the third over of the reply as Ganguly was caught by Swann on the cover boundary, and followed up in his next over with Rob White's wicket, also caught at cover.
Northants skipper David Sales edged to wicketkeeper Read off Charlie Shreck, who then caught ex-Notts batsman Bilal Shafayat on the boundary for 25.
That left the tail with too much to do, with Phillips bowled by Ealham and Usman Afzaal finishing on eight not out.
There was also a moment of controversy when Riki Wessels was run out in bizarre circumstances and ended up leaving the field on a stretcher.
Wessels, amid confusion, had ended up at the same end as Shafayat but both batsmen appeared to think the ball was dead.
Wessels ended up having to sprint to the other end but his dive was unable to beat the throw. Shafayat was seen remonstrating with one of the umpires over the incident.