Jacques Rudolph bowed out of Twenty20 cricket with a high-class 65 as Glamorgan slipped to an 11-run defeat to Birmingham Bears in the first NatWest T20 Blast semi-final, at Edgbaston.
Skipper Rudolph, who will retire from all cricket at the end of the 2017 season, struck nine fours and a six in an enterprising knock but it wasn't enough as his side ended on 164 all out off 19.4 overs chasing 176 to win as the hosts progressed to the final, Ollie Stone impressing with 3-29.
Glamorgan fought hard to the end in their first Finals Day appearance since 2004 as Andrew Salter gave the Bears a scare by hitting 14 runs off the opening three balls of Chris Woakes' final over to get his side within range.
The visitors were chasing the game from the off as Ed Pollock's 23-ball fifty gave Birmingham's innings a powerful start - his knock the springboard for a total of 175-9.
Pollock oozed power as he struck three sixes off his first nine balls, dispatching Colin Ingram and Michael Hogan, twice, over the rope after Glamorgan chose to bowl.
The 22-year-old dominated the bowling, picking up Marchant de Lange for a fourth six as he took Bears single-handedly to 39-0 before opening partner Dominic Sibley (27 off 23) contributed a run.
Glamorgan had little answer until Pollock picked out Kiran Carlson at cover off a de Lange full toss and from that point the run-rate inevitably slowed.
Craig Meschede picked up Adam Hose and Sam Hain cheaply before skipper Grant Elliott (32 off 26 balls) regrouped his side and went back on the offensive, attacking Graham Wagg in particular.
In partnership with Colin de Grandhomme (30 off 18), Elliott added 46 off 5.4 overs before he fell trying to ramp Hogan to fine leg.
Glamorgan closed out the innings far better than they began it - restricting Bears to 13-4 off the final two overs with the help of three wickets off the final three balls including the run outs of Aaron Thomason and Woakes after de Grandhomme picked out deep mid-wicket.
Birmingham's response was swift - Hain and Elliott both holding catches in the deep to send back Aneurin Donald (four) and Colin Ingram (11) to reduce the chase to 31-2.
Thomason then struck a telling blow, removing David Miller caught behind on the drive for a second-ball duck and when Kieran Carlson snicked the impressive Ollie Stone through Glamorgan were up against it at 48-4 off six overs.
While Rudolph was still at the crease there was still hope for the visitors, though, and he duly brought up his 27th T20 fifty in 159 matches off 30 balls.
The South African added 15 more before he was run out by Thomason in brilliant fashion - the seamer collecting a Wagg drive in his follow-through and flicking the ball onto the non-striker's stumps.
Wagg (25 off 22) quickly followed and with him Glamorgan's aspirations of a shot at the title in the final despite some savage late blows from Salter - Birmingham advancing to play the winners of the second semi-final between Nottinghamshire and Hampshire.
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