Somerset 209 for 5 (Gregory 60*, Hildreth 42, Abell 46*) beat Nottinghamshire 190 (Hales 45, Libby 41, J Overton 5-47) by 19 runs
The Blast quarter-finals had followed a similar pattern with the chasing side achieving a low, but awkward target on a turning pitch. Somerset reached Finals Day in different fashion, boldly posting 209 for 5 on a decent surface thanks to an animated intervention from Lewis Gregory and then ousting the holders, Nottinghamshire, by 19 runs.
Somerset now face Sussex in a semi-final at Edgbaston on September 15, their fifth appearance in Finals Day and a reward for a county who have become stronger as the tournament has gone on. Worcestershire face Lancashire, completing a line-up of four contrasting sides with so much to commend them.
It is possible that when the analytics are studied that no county match has ever been watched in greater numbers on digital media than the Somerset website's coverage of this last-eight tie, which proved that an awful lot of benefit can be found in just one static camera focused on the pitch.
The tie was settled when three Nottinghamshire batsmen - Steven Mullaney, Samit Patel and Luke Fletcher - fell deep in the leg side in the 18th over, bowled by Jamie Overton, caught by Max Waller. When Waller held the third to general delirium, diving forward to rescue his slight misjudgement, the summariser pronounced with no sense of irony: "One for the cameras." One for the crowd, more likely - everybody else could only imagine.
Overton, who did not bowl particularly well, finished with his best T20 figures of 5 for 47. The bowler saw it differently. "It was just that I was bowling to one of the best batsmen in the world in Alex Hales. He was a number one for a reason and can be so destructive at times. I bowled the balls I wanted to but he kept hitting them for four."
Nottinghamshire had looked dangerous, justifying the assessment from their coach Peter Moores that the target was gettable, firstly because of Alex Hales' 45 from 28 then Tom Moores' 36 from 18. Moores thrashes around in T20 with the abandon of a headbanging youngster on a dance floor, tipsy for the first time. His boundaries generally flew straight and only when he fell did the target of 77 from 38 balls look overpowering. It all ended when Jerome Taylor yorked Harry Gurney, a reminder that Taylor's mid-tournament replenishment of Somerset's fast bowling stocks has helped to balance the side.
Somerset's innings had flourished late, like a Michaelmas daisy, unpromising clumps of green finally bursting forth with a sixth-wicket stand of 81 from 5.3 overs from Gregory and Tom Abell, captains variously of the T20 and Championship sides and both playing at the peak of their form.
Gregory included five sixes in his unbeaten 60 from 24 balls, and took of the wickets of Dan Christian and Ish Sodhi, too, in a four-over return of 2 for 29, a fine achievement for someone whose inclusion had been in doubt because of a hamstring strain. He was one player, at least, who valued the extra 24 hours' recovery time after Sunday's washout. Trego called his intervention "unreal". It certainly affected Gurney, who was warned out of the attack after bowling two waist-high full tosses in the 18th over.
Somerset's innings was a story of batsmen who have improved their T20 game: not just Gregory, now one of the most productive T20 allrounders in the country, but also James Hildreth, once left out of Somerset's T20 side but who has discovered a penchant for it top side of 30, and Abell, the young Championship skipper, who is gradually broadening his range in his first full season and provider here of a competition-best 46 from 30.
Hildreth had sparked the first half of Somerset's innings, bringing up the hundred in the 12th over as he struck Mullaney for 16 off three balls and achieving a fifty from 27 balls in the process. Two balls later, he was lbw to Mullaney, attempting a reverse sweep.
The intervention of all three was needed after Somerset had only reached 46 for 2 in the Powerplay, their innings seemingly as clogged as the M5 just north of Taunton which had delayed so many journeys for a Bank Holiday crowd. Steve Davies' lost his middle stump to the offspin of Matthew Carter, second ball, Peter Trego's pull at Luke Fletcher fell to mid-on and, in the eighth over, Johann Myburgh holed out for 27 against Sodhi.
Myburgh is hoping for Somerset glory as much as anyone in Cider country. He retires at the end of the season, at 37, and his standing ovation was no surprise. Earlier this month he penned an emotional open letter to Somerset supporters about his four seasons in the south-west, talking of "Somerset blood pumping through my veins" and how he had "made friendships that will last forever, seen young boys turn into men and enjoyed the inner child in the seasoned guys."
"Life is more fun if you play games," wrote Roald Dahl in My Uncle Oswald and, even if Uncle Oswald should perhaps not be presented as a pre-final role model, being a debauched scoundrel with something other than cricket on his mind, Myburgh's own inner child now goes to Edgbaston for a final day out.