Notts Outlaws’ hopes of reaching Finals Day in this year’s Friends Life t20 competition were dashed as they went down to the Hampshire Royals at Trent Bridge.

The south coast side, winners in 2010, triumphed after chasing down a victory target of 179, to win by 4 wickets.

Samit Patel, in his 100th t20 match (87 for Notts, 12 for England one for the Lions), held the hopes of the home side together as he made a dashing 60 from just 33 deliveries and then claimed figures of 3-26 as the Royals looked like coming up short, only for South African Neil McKenzie to produce a stunning 79 not out to guide them over the line.

For Patel, the pain was obvious.

“We just didn’t execute all our skills at the right time and that is what wins you games of cricket,” said Patel.

“At important times we didn’t control what was going on but I thought McKenzie played outstanding well and so did Dimi at the end and they showed great experience. You don’t get to Finals Day without being a good team and they are a good team but we are very disappointed.

 “We got to a total we felt happy with and felt we could defend but it just didn’t happen for us in the field.”

 “We got to a total we felt happy with and felt we could defend but it just didn’t happen for us in the field.”

 The England all-rounder had come to the crease in the eleventh over with the Outlaws on 80-4 after being put in by Dimitri Mascarenhas, the Royals skipper.

That decision had an immediate pay off as Alex Hales (0) fell in the first over, chipping tamely to cover.

Riki Wessels (19) only lasted for six deliveries but made an astonishing impact, hitting three fours and a six before top edging to short third man.

James Taylor (10) and Michael Lumb (39) fell in similar fashion, both unable to keep down fierce slashes to point.

Patel arrived to add 62 with Adam Voges for the fifth wicket, with the Australian making 33 before hitting Danny Briggs to Glenn Maxwell at long on.

The tempo increased dramatically in the closing stages of the innings and although both Patel and Steven Mullaney (4) fell in the final over, leaving Chris Read 10 not out, a total of 178-7 looked defendable.

In front of a noisy and partisan crowd of 11,127 the Outlaws struck an early blow as Harry Gurney had Jimmy Adams (5) caught behind in the second over.

His opening partner, James Vince, then used up several slices of good fortune in one go. He hit hard towards point and saw James Taylor, at full stretch, put down a difficult one-handed chance. The ball ricocheted to Patel, who shied at the stumps and narrowly missed with the batsman well out of his ground and the lucky recipient of five runs as the ball went for overthrows.

Andy Carter then had Vince, a centurion in the CB40 meeting a week ago, caught by Michael Lumb at mid on for 11– the fielder diving forward to scoop the ball up inches from the ground.

Carter had a major scare in his next over as he slipped over whilst in his bowling stride but thankfully he was OK to resume.

With the scores running virtually neck and neck throughout the innings, the Outlaws were grateful for the wickets they managed to pick up.

Steven Mullaney’s second delivery accounted for Simon Katich (25), with Jake Ball taking the catch at backward point and then Patel struck twice in the same over.

Sean Ervine (5) hit the spinner out to Hales in the deep and then Maxwell (1) made a rash charge at his second delivery and was easily stumped.

At that stage Notts looked on course for the in but they knew McKenzie posed a threat. The right-hander hit a match-winning century in a championship match at Trent Bridge in 2010 and looked equally determined to break Notts’ hearts again.

Time and again he powerfully drove to the cover boundary and twice he cleared the ropes.

Although Patel picked up his third wicket when he had Liam Dawson (30) caught in the deep, McKenzie continued to keep his side up with the asking rate.

Twelve were still required as the match entered its final over and a dot ball and a single from Carter’s bowling meant it was eleven from four balls.

At that stage there was more confusion as McKenzie went down with either cramp or a muscle injury and after brief treatment a runner was permitted.

Successive boundaries and then a two took the game away from Notts – and although the scores were level, Hampshire knew they would win anyway on fewer wickets lost.

For good measure McKenzie crashed the final ball away to leave the result beyond doubt and take the Royals through to Finals Day.