Jimmy Adams confirmed his breakthrough as a one-day player with the man-of-the-match performance as Hampshire, 2005 Friend's Provident Trophy winners, booked their return to Lord's.
The 28-year-old left-hand batsman had not made a half-century in 50-over cricket before this season and had played twice as many first-class matches as limited-overs games in a seven-year career with Hampshire. He watched from the stands in 2005 and again when his county were runners-up to Durham two years later.
Yet after regaining his place in Hampshire's final group match against Nottinghamshire this year, hitting an unbeaten 73, Adams followed up with 76 in the quarter-final against Middlesex and 78 here yesterday in a match-winning partnership of 159 with co-opener Michael Lumb as Hampshire won by 64 runs.
He underlined his performance with the bat, which included six fours and two sixes, by taking two brilliant catches, a superb one-handed effort at backward point to limit Francois du Plessis – Lancashire's leading scorer in the competition this year – to just five, and an equally impressive diving take to complete the critical dismissal for 54 of VVS Laxman, who had carried Lancashire's last realistic hope of reaching a target of 272 to win.
"After playing no part in the last two finals it will be great to be in the dressing room this time," he said. "It would be nice to perform again but if it is someone's else turn I won't mind, so long as we win."
Laxman was a scalp for 19-year-old Liam Dawson, the promising left-arm spinner, although it was the wrist spinner Imran Tahir, who bowled Hampshire to victory over Lancashire in a four-day contest last month, who was a thorn in their flesh again, with 3-38.
Hampshire feared they had underachieved despite Adams and Lumb having scored at six an over. The pair plundered 12 fours and three sixes to leave Glen Chapple reflecting on the wisdom of deciding to field.
But when Sajid Mahmood claimed the wicket of Adams with the help of a one-handed catch by Du Plessis at point, Hampshire collapsed. Lumb, who had made 76, chipped to mid-on when Mahmood surprised him with a slower ball. Lancashire captured all 10 wickets for 112, with eight deliveries left over, Mahmood, Chapple and Gary Keedy taking three each.
"We could have been facing 350 so we felt we had fought back well," the Lancashire keeper, Luke Sutton, said. "But we just didn't bat well enough."
The result meant that Peter Moores, the Lancashire coach, lost out to his predecessor in the England dressing room, Duncan Fletcher's consultancy role with Hants being sufficiently hands-on for him to join in with the team song afterwards.
Jimmy Adams had not made a half-century in the one-day game before this season.