Nottinghamshire 165 for 5 (Duckett 62*) beat Worcestershire 159 for 8 (Barnard 38, Ball 4-25) by five wickets
Notts Outlaws missed out on a quarter-final spot in the Vitality Blast for the first time in seven years despite ending the North Group campaign with a five-wicket success over Worcestershire Rapids at New Road.
The Outlaws had been an unexpected life-line in their hopes of reaching the last eight after Leicestershire had been deducted two points by the ECB Cricket Discipline Commission.
But it would have needed an Outlaws win, dramatic turn-around in run-rate and for Yorkshire Vikings to lose heavily to Leicestershire for them to claim fourth spot. Instead they had to settle for completing 2022 with a fourth successive win with eight balls to spare.
He was well supported by the spin trio of Sol Budinger, Samit Patel and Calvin Harrison who had combined figures of 3-57 from 10 overs.
Worcestershire were left to reflect on a disappointing campaign in which they won only two matches and finished bottom of the North Group.
Matthew Wade’s decision to pull out of a contract for the entire summer was a major blow, particularly in T20 cricket, and the unavailability of captain Moeen Ali and Dwayne Bravo for the opening four games, all away from home, left them with a mountain to climb.
The Rapids were put in to bat and former Nottinghamshire batter, Jake Libby, soon departed after nicking a delivery from Ball.
Colin Munro, in the final innings of his third spell at New Road, looked in good touch and struck Lyndon James for 4-6-4 and also lofted Steven Mullaney over the long on boundary.
But Ball returned to strike twice with club captain, Brett D’Oliveira, holing out to mid off and Munro, having made 27 off 14 balls, bowled behind his legs attempting a sweep.
Ball had figures of 3 for 5 after his opening two overs as the Rapids reached 41 for 3 by the end of the powerplay.
Ali, the subject of reports linking him with a move to Warwickshire, has struggled to produce his accustomed form during his current spell at New Road. He looked in decent touch in adding 49 in partnership with Kashif Ali but on 28 picked out long-on off Budinger to end the Rapids’ campaign with 107 runs from seven knocks.
Kashif slapped the same bowler to cover and Gareth Roderick played back to Patel and was bowled.
It was left to Ed Barnard to provide some late momentum with 38 off 28 balls. He hit James for two fours and a six in the penultimate over from James before finding Duckett at long on and then Dwayne Bravo became Ball’s fourth victim at deep midwicket.
Nottinghamshire had to try and reach their target in the shortest time possible in a bid to improve their run rate but lost three early wickets.
Joe Clarke sliced the first delivery from Mitchell Stanley straight into the hands of third man and Budinger, after making 24 off 12 balls, lofted the young pace bowler straight to deep midwicket.
Alex Hales smashed successive sixes over the midwicket boundary off Dillon Pennington but then tried to steer him to third man and was caught behind.
The Outlaws were 68 for 4 when Steven Mullaney was beaten in the flight and lbw to Bravo
Duckett and James added 52 before the latter tried to hit D’Oliveira over long on and had to depart thanks to the combined efforts of Libby and Barnard on the boundary.
But Duckett played sensibly to complete a 39-ball fifty and ended unbeaten on 62 to finish as the Outlaws’ leading scorer with 396 runs.
The Rapids players wore shirts in support of the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust, the Club’s Official Charity Partner for 2022.