Hampshire 249 for 8 (Afridi 101, Vince 55; Critchley 3-32 ) beat Derbyshire 148 (Abbott 3-25, Dawson 3-28) by 101 runs
A sensational first Twenty20 century from the swirling bat of Shahid Afridi ended Derbyshire's dream of reaching finals day for the first time on a night of tumbling records at the 3aaa County Ground.
Sent in to open the Hampshire innings in a move that wrecked Derbyshire's plans from the outset, the 37-year-old allrounder hit seven sixes and 10 fours before losing his wicket to just the 43rd ball he faced.
Hampshire's innings actually collapsed at the end, with five wickets falling for 17 runs in the space of nine deliveries, but Afridi's fireworks, supplemented by James Vince's 55 off 36 balls and 27 off 11 by George Bailey, enabled Vince's team to build a total that shattered several records and created a winning margin of 101, taking them to finals day for the seventh time in eight years.
First of all it was Hampshire's highest T20 total, surpassing their 225 against Middlesex in 2006, and the fourth-highest by any team in domestic T20 in this country. Indeed, only five higher scores have been made anywhere in the world since the T20 concept was born.
It is also the highest against Derbyshire, bettering Warwickshire's 242 for 2 at Edgbaston in 2015 and the highest witnessed on this ground, passing Lancashire's 220 for 5 in 2009.
Afridi set the tone in the first over after Derbyshire, who have been happy chasing runs this season and had won five of their six home group matches, went to their tried-and-trusted tactic of handing Wayne Madsen the ball, giving the opposition no pace to work with and usually resulting in few runs conceded.
This time he conceded four boundaries and Afridi was merely warming up. Inside the Powerplay alone, he reached 45 off 18 balls, with two consecutive sixes off Hardus Viljoen, who mostly bowled in the high 80s and low 90s but watched the ball flying off Afridi's bat with frightening velocity too. The second of those maximums landed somewhere in the road beyond the wall at the City End.
Madsen, who has been Derbyshire's hero with bat and ball in taking them to only their second quarter-final in T20 competitions, was not asked to bowl again but any thoughts that he might slip away somewhere unnoticed for the rest of the innings disappeared in the eighth over when a bad night turned worse and he spilled the catch that would have ended Afridi's assault on 65.
The previous delivery from Imran Tahir had sailed more or less over his head, out of the ground again, a fifth six, but the next one Afridi mishit. Madsen was there, in front of the old pavilion at long-on. He saw it all the way but somehow - and only he will know - it popped into his hands and out again.
On a night when Matt Henry - one-handed and falling backwards - and Alex Hughes both took fine catches, it was a moment of incongruous horror for the former captain.
And so Afridi marched on, swinging his bat with trademark abandon. Mostly, in fact, it doesn't pay off, at least not for long. He had gone past 50 on only nine previous occasions in T20 and his previous best was a mere 80, scored for Hampshire in their 2011 semi-final against Somerset, which they lost on a super over. Indeed, in his seven innings before this one in the 2017 Blast he had managed 50 runs - in total.
This time, though, he kept on connecting. Two more sixes - one into the Hampshire dugout, another into the car park beyond the old press box - until finally, the ball after his 10th four took him to 101, he top-edged a pull off Ben Cotton and Henry did what Madsen should have.
Meanwhile, Afridi's partner in a 103-run stand for the second wicket, the consistently excellent Vince, was scoring his 23rd half-century in this form of cricket to take his tally for the season to 486.
The little collapse at the end saw Matt Critchley, the young legspinner, take three wickets in an over, including two off his last two balls, but faced with the need to score 250 to win - two more than the biggest score in T20 history by a team batting second - it was hardly a consolation.
In the event, the pursuit - if it can be called that - was effectively over by the fifth over. Derbyshire needed Madsen - or Luis Reece, or Billy Godleman - to come up with something of substance but Godleman was caught off Liam Dawson on the midwicket boundary in the opening over, Reece caught behind in the third and Madsen fell - to Afridi, naturally, fielding round the corner to Kyle Abbott - to the last ball of the fifth.
From 35 for 4 at that moment, Derbyshire stumbled through 48 for 5 to 58 for 7 to 102 for 9, Dawson and Abbott taking three wickets each, before Cotton and Imran Tahir at least spared them the indignity of suffering the largest margin of defeat, adding 46 for the last wicket as Hampshire freewheeled to victory. That particular record stands of 143, for Somerset against Essex in 2011.
On what had been billed as the biggest match on this ground since Derbyshire beat Northamptonshire in the Benson and Hedges semi-final in 1993, the measure of Hampshire's victory was a mere 101 - precisely Afridi's score.