Notts Outlaws face an uphill task to reach the quarter-finals of the Twenty20 Cup after suffering their third defeat in four North Division matches at the hands of Durham Dynamos.
Chasing 178 to win after the hosts were invited to bat and made 177-4, the game seemed all but over when Chris Read was dismissed in the 17th over with Notts 132-7.
But a late flurry of sixes from Mark Ealham and Andre Adams mean that Notts needed 20 off the last two overs and 10 from the final over with two wickets remaining, bowled by Mitch Claydon.
In a dramatic finish, the Australian then bowled Luke Fletcher and Ealham to bowl Notts out for 169, as Durham hung on to win by eight runs.
While Darren Pattinson struck early to remove pinch-hitter Phil Mustard and Fletcher also bowled economically, Durham progressed to 92 before Michael Di Venuto was caught by Alex Hales off Samit Patel, while Kyle Coetzer and Ian Blackwell quickly followed.
But a brutal assault from Dale Benkenstein, who struck five sixes in a cameo 48 not out from 18 balls, pushed the total on to a highly competitive total.
Early wickets were again the Outlaws downfall, as Hales, Bilal Shafayat, Ali Brown and Samit Patel all fell cheaply.
Will Jefferson made a rapid 42 in a 60 partnership with Adam Voges, but things again fell away until Adams thrashed 20 off eight balls.
The 18th over from Gareth Breese went for 21 but Adams was caught at long-on before the final fling.
The result leaves Notts joint bottom of the North Division with Leicestershire and as Jefferson put it, in need of a repeat of the run of form they produced at the start of last year’s competition.
He said: “The group is still wide open and we have got enough know-how and experience to bounce back.
“There are two big games this week and we would like to win all six remaining matches to get through to the quarter-finals.
“Last season we had that kind of run at the start. If we get it at the end, that momentum can take us through to the knock-out stages.”
DURHAM DEFEAT PUTS OUTLAWS ON BACK FOOT
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