Ben Stokes' quick-fire 34 proved in vain as Sussex Sharks eased to a five-wicket victory over Durham Jets at Emirates Riverside to qualify for Vitality Blast Finals Day.
Stokes, playing as a specialist batsman due to a left knee niggle, struck six fours off his first 13 balls only for spinners Will Beer (2-17) and Danny Briggs (2-19) to restrict Durham to 140-7.
In reply, Delray Rawlins' eye-catching 42 and Laurie Evans' 63no - his sixth fifty of the campaign - saw Sussex to their target off 18.2 overs in the first Vitality Blast match this summer to feature no sixes.
Remarkably this was the first time the teams had played each other in 16 years of domestic Twenty20 cricket - Jets opting to bat after winning the toss.
Durham, inspired by Stokes, had raced to 47-1 off 3.3 overs before Graham Clark miscued a Chris Jordan slower ball to deep square and pace off proved to be Sussex's route back into the game - the average speed in the powerplay dropping from 82.5mph to 66.1mph after the first three overs.
Leg-spinner Beer, back in the team after Afghanistan recalled Rashid Khan a game early, struck in his first over as he trapped Stokes lbw as he attempted to reverse sweep to make it 66-2 off seven overs - although replays showed the ball pitched outside leg.
Skipper Tom Latham quickly followed, falling lbw on the sweep to Briggs, as the ball arrowed in on off-stump and Beer then bagged another by bowling Paul Collingwood middle stump as he came down the pitch.
Will Smith, dropped by Briggs off his own bowling on seven, offered another return chance after adding just one more run and such was Sussex's stranglehold that no boundaries were scored for almost 10 overs in the middle of the innings.
But for a late flourish from Stuart Poynter (28no off 24 balls) Durham would have fallen well below par.
Stokes was quickly back into the action as Sussex's chase began, running back from mid-off to catch safely as Phil Salt looked to launch Chris Rushworth.
When Luke Wright (12) fell attempting to pull Mark Wood Sussex looked shaky on 28-2 only for Rawlins to repair the damage with some crisp ball-striking.
The 20-year-old enjoyed a life on 26 when he was dropped at long off by Nathan Rimmington - Ben Whitehead the unfortunate bowler - before posting a fifty stand with Evans off just 34 balls.
His dismissal, caught and bowled off a short Wood delivery, was ungainly at a stage when Sussex required less than a run-a-ball.
Evans remained the epitome of composure, though, content to knock the ball around before fittingly finishing the match with back-to-back boundaries off Clark.
Our live coverage of this year's Vitality Blast quarter-finals continues with Worcestershire against Gloucestershire, from 2.30pm on Sky Sports Cricket.
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