Hampshire Hawks booked their place in Vitality Blast Finals Day with a thumping 104-run win over Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston.
The Hawks emphatically pooped the Bears' party, denying their hosts a Finals Day place back in Birmingham on July 16 and, at the same time, silencing a big, sun-soaked crowd.
The Hawks were lifted to an imposing 186 for six by the clean hitting of Ben McDermott (61, 36 balls) and Joe Weatherley (47, 31). Bears linchpin spinners Danny Briggs and Jake Lintott took some unaccustomed punishment (a combined six overs for 76), though skipper Carlos Brathwaite stepped up with four for 31.
The Bears had topped 200 seven times in the group stage but this time were bowled out for only 82 in 13.3 overs by top-drawer bowling led by James Fuller (four for 17), Nathan Ellis (three for four) and Brad Wheal (two for nine).
After the Hawks chose to bat, England paceman Olly Stone opened up with two excellent overs for eight runs, but McDermott and James Vince soon upped the ante. After scored 11 from the first two overs, they smashed 50 from the next four as the Aussie, in particular, broke loose. McDermott's fourth six, hoisted over extra cover off former Hawks spinner Briggs, took him to 50 from 28 balls.
The openers added 93 in 56 balls before Brathwaite dismissed both in four balls. Vince (31, 22 balls) edged to wicketkeeper Alex Davies and McDermott dragged a yorker on to his stumps. It was three wickets in ten balls when Tom Prest missed a reverse sweep and was lbw to Dan Mousley.
Weatherly and Barnard buried the blip with a stand of 69 in 40 balls before the latter (24, 16) was superbly held by Lintott at long off off Brathwaite. Craig Miles and Adam Hose held their nerve under skiers to oust Weatherley and Liam Dawson respectively, the latter wicket giving Brathwaite his four-for.
The Hawks' total looked about par on a good pitch but they got their talons straight into the Bears' reply as Ellis forced Paul Stirling into a fatal miscue and Wheal's first ball flattened Davies' middle stump. Sam Hain hoiked Wheal to deep mid-wicket and when Fuller's third ball yorked Adam Hose, the Bears were 40 for four in the seventh over.
The Hawks advanced ruthlessly to Finals Day. Chris Benjamin and Brathwaite sent up catches off Fuller to leave the bowler with three for 11 from his first two overs and Vince's side closed out victory with such comfort that they could spend the closing overs picturing themselves back on the immaculate greensward of Edgbaston in nine days time.