Tom Curran smashed 43 off just 28 balls and took three wickets as the Oval Invincibles beat the Southern Brave by eight runs and all but secured top spot and their place in The Hundred final.
Chris Jordan took three wickets, all clean bowled, to leave the Invincibles 90-7 before Curran rescued the innings in a vital 49-run partnership off just 22 balls with Nathan Sowter to propel the Invincibles to 139-7.
Curran took three wickets, as the Invincibles spinners dominated the middle sets, to restrict the Brave to 131-7 in reply.
Tim David top scored with 44 and hit four of the last five balls of the match for six, but the Brave drop to fourth in the table, with a vital last-round clash against Manchester Originals next Wednesday.
Sam Billings elected to bat first and Jason Roy edged his first ball from George Garton for four then had an early life after he ramped Craig Overton straight to Tymal Mills at short fine leg, but Mills lost sight of the ball at the crucial moment.
Will Jacks pulled an enormous six off Garton and sliced a wide full toss just over short third man for four, but was trapped lbw by Overton. Roy hit three boundaries with a pull, a flick and a scoop off Overton’s final set of the powerplay as the Invincibles reached 38-1.
Thirteen deliveries without a boundary followed, and the pressure soon told as Roy was cleaned bowled advancing down the wicket to an 89mph Jordan delivery, and Rehan Ahmed trapped Tawanda Muyeye plumb in front.
Heinrich Klaasen struck three boundaries in four balls, including a glorious shot over extra cover, before Jordan sent his middle stump flying out of the ground with a beauty Jordan dismissed Sam Billings second-ball for his third dismissal in a devastating spell of bowling.
Tymal Mills plucked an incredible one-handed return catch out of the air to remove Sam Curran and when Ross Whiteley was run out Invincibles had slumped to 90-7, only for Tom Curran to rescue the innings with 43 off 28 in a partnership of 49 off just 22 balls with Sowter.
Tom Curran struck three consecutive boundaries from Mills, hoisted Jordan for an enormous six over mid-wicket in the penultimate set, and hit Mills over long on for a six in a final set that went for 17 runs to propel the Invincibles to 139-7.
In response Finn Allen struck Spencer Johnson over mid-on, before ramping him past short fine leg. Devon Conway flicked Johnson for a boundary, before hoisting Sowter for six to long on, and clubbing a four to mid-wicket. Tom Curran broke the opening stand with a disguised slower ball that Conway nicked behind.
Spin duo Adam Zampa and Sowter dominated after the powerplay, bowling four sets in tandem as the Brave failed to muster a boundary for 26 deliveries. Allen launched Tom Curran for a four and a six through square leg but skied his next delivery and Roy charged in from long on to take a tough catch on the second juggle.
Soon after Jacks bowled Leus du Plooy and Zampa dismissed Vince, who holed out to long on. Colin Ackermann clubbed a Sam Curran slower ball straight to deep mid-wicket, before Garton top edged Tom Curran to Billings.
David produced some late fireworks with five enormous sixes to cheer up the crowd, but the Brave were beaten.
Rockets keep slim hopes alive
The Trent Rockets’ title defence remains in the balance but is in better shape than before after they thumped Birmingham Phoenix by 46 runs in the final Hundred Men’s match at Trent Bridge, watched by a record crowd of 15,551.
Off-spinner Matt Carter (two for 15) and Australia all-rounder Daniel Sams (3-17) stood out with the ball as Phoenix, now eliminated, could muster only 116-9 despite 38 off 22 balls from Jamie Smith in response to the Rockets’ 162-6, to which Colin Munro (34 off 17), Sam Hain (30 off 21) and Alex Hales (27 off 14) were the key contributors.
Trent Rockets – 134-6 from 100 balls: Bryony Smith (64 off 40); Emily Arlott (3-15), Katie Levick (2-30)
Birmingham Phoenix – 131-4 from 100 balls: Amy Jones (46no off 30); Kirstie Gordon (1-20), Alana King (1-23)
The result puts the Rockets on seven points, level in tied-second with Southern Brave and Manchester Originals and four points behind leaders Oval Invincibles. The Brave and the Originals face off in Manchester next Wednesday after Rockets wrap up away to the Invincibles on Monday.
There are four games in The Hundred on Sunday, with Manchester Originals vs Northern Superchargers at Emirates Old Trafford and Welsh Fire vs London Spirit in Cardiff.
Originals Women are out of play-off contention, while already-qualified Superchargers will be looking for a win to boost their hopes of topping the table and qualifying directly for the final. Fire Women, meanwhile, will secure a play-off spot at least with victory over Spirit.
In the men’s competition, Originals, Superchargers, Fire and Spirit are all still in the play-off mix.
Watch The Hundred live on Sky Sports or stream with NOW for £26 a month for 12 months.