A third straight half-century from Ali Brown continued Notts Outlaws’ run of victories in the Twenty20 Cup - but results elsewhere mean they can no longer reach the quarter-finals.

Brown blasted 65 from 42 balls as Notts swept Derbyshire Phantoms aside by eight wickets with 20 balls to spare, but a combination of Leicestershire’s win over Yorkshire and a wash-out between Durham and Lancashire means Notts cannot overhaul their rivals in the final group game on Sunday.

But none of the near-9,000 crowd at Trent Bridge were complaining as Brown hit six fours and two sixes in another productive partnership with Matt Wood, who got the Notts chase off to a flying start with 34 off 16 balls, including six sweetly struck fours.

Will Jefferson finished 31 not out and Brown’s dismissal just before the end gave Notts supporters a chance to welcome back David Hussey, who promptly smashed a six over cover to bring the game to a close.

Earlier, Mark Ealham had been the star with the ball, picking up 3-20 from his four overs -including a double wicket maiden - as Derbyshire reached 165-6.

The veteran all-rounder picked up a return catch from Phantoms skipper Chris Rogers and then bowled Greg Smith to slow the Derbyshire innings down after a promising start, before fooling John Sadler with a slower ball which the left-hander drove straight to Hussey at cover.

After the game, Ealham said: “It was a very convincing win and just shows that we can take heart from the week’s performances.

“The management will be frustrated seeing how we’ve played in the last three games and the team are also frustrated to see us hit form so late.

“Hopefully we can continue this against Lancashire on Sunday, finish the campaign in style and then take a look at what we have done right and build on it next season.”

Ealham praised the impact of Matt Wood after his return from an ankle ligament injury and added: “He’s got us off to rocket starts, set the tone for our innings and helped Ali Brown to get his eye in before playing his shots.

“It was a good day for me with the ball. Sometimes you can run up and bowl and you’ll go for 50 and on other days bowl exactly the same and pick up wickets. The wicket helped me a bit, as the slower balls seemed to hold up.”

The medium-pacer is retiring at the end of the season and said: “I will miss the competition - I keep pestering Mick Newell to have a bat!

“Every cricketer wants to play in front of big crowds and that’s what Twenty20 gives you. Hopefully we’ll have a good crowd in on Sunday and can finish on a high.”