Dan Christian's late innings heroics were in vain as Notts Outlaws fell agonisingly short of ending Lancashire Lightning's unbeaten run in the Vitality T20 Blast after slipping to a three run defeat at Emirates Old Trafford.
The Outlaws skipper finished unbeaten on 41* and plundered 21 from the penultimate over but couldn't muster the 12 runs that were needed from the last, as fellow Australian James Faulkner struck twice to claim victory for the hosts.
It was an Aussie affair in Manchester as all-rounder Glenn Maxwell starred with the bat and in the field for the hosts with 73 off 46 balls as the Lightning posted 151-6 from their first innings.
He then claimed four catches - a Lancashire record - as Notts slipped from 96 for three in the 13th over to 101 for six in the 15th.
Notts eventually finished on 148 for nine in a tense encounter under the lights.
Former England all-rounder Samit Patel also impressed for Notts with one for 14 from three overs of left-arm spin and an innings of 34.
But he was one of three wickets to fall for five runs in 12 balls as spinners Matthew Parkinson and Liam Livingstone put the skids under the visitors.
Parkinson finished with three for 22 from four overs of leg-spin.
The Lightning recovered from two for two in the first over and 35 for four in the ninth to post 151 for six thanks to a superb 107 fifth-wicket stand between Maxwell and Dane Vilas (46 off 36).
They united for eleven overs to share their county’s record fifth-wicket partnership in T20 cricket.
Having been invited to bowl, Notts made the perfect start through left-arm seamer Luke Wood, who bowled Alex Davies with the first ball of the night and then Steven Croft for one with the fifth, both off inside edges.
Shortly afterwards, Livingstone was bowled trying to scoop Pakistan left-arm spinner Imad Wasim before Keaton Jennings was stumped off Patel.
That paved the way for Maxwell and experienced South African Vilas to first of all rebuild the innings by scampering singles and twos before opening up later on.
The Lightning scored 85 off the last eight overs and 60 off the last five.
Maxwell effectively utilised the reverse pull and ramp against Harry Gurney late on before he and Vilas then fell in to Gurney in the 20th over.
Richard Gleeson gave the hosts the ideal start to their defence when he trapped Joe Clarke lbw with the first ball of the chase, replicating Wood’s early strike.
Gleeson then had Ben Duckett caught at mid-off by Maxwell off a full toss leaving Notts 29 for two in the fourth before Hales (29) miscued a sweep at the leg-spin of Parkinson to Maxwell at deep mid-wicket (65 for three in the ninth).
The Outlaws reached halfway at 76 for three, but things started to unravel as Livingstone had Tom Moores caught at long-off by Maxwell and Wasim lbw for 1.
Parkinson also had Patel (34) caught at deep cover, leaving the score 99 for five in the 14th, and Wood stumped for just five.
Christian’s late heroics are then to no avail as Faulkner struck twice in two balls in the last over, including another catch for Maxwell.
Lancashire have now won five of their seven North Group fixtures, added to two No Results, and sit on 12 points. They are three clear of Worcestershire in second, who have only played six.
Notts remain in the top four with three wins and three defeats from seven.
There are three further opportunities to catch the Outlaws in T20 action at Trent Bridge this summer, with the next home game under the lights against Derbyshire Falcons on Friday 16 August.