Alex Wakely gave credit to Samit Patel after the all-rounder's heroics propelled Nottinghamshire Outlaws past Northants at the County Ground on Monday.
The Steelbacks suffered a one-wicket defeat as Patel's unbeaten 136 from 124 won the Royal London One-Day Cup clash for Notts with three balls to spare.
Northants had looked likely to claim only a third win of the 50-over campaign when the Outlaws were reduced to 116 for five after 24.1 overs.
Ben Duckett was dismissed for a first-ball duck on his first return to the County Ground, but Patel and Tom Moores (69) played key roles as the Steelbacks were defeated on home soil.
“This has been the theme all year really, playing some good cricket but not quite being good enough to win enough games," said Northants skipper Wakely.
“We weren’t at our best with the ball, but that was one of the best knocks you’ll see from Samit.
“For a long time I thought, 'take one wicket and we’ve won', but one batsman can win you a game and Samit just played beautifully."
While Northants finished second from bottom in the North Group, table-topping Notts now move on to a home semi-final this weekend.
And Patel said: "I was due for a score and needed a score really, just to put to rest a few people who might have been thinking I was past it - but I’m back.
"I think in this day and age you can score 100 from the last 10 overs and all through that was my target, ideally with wickets in hand.
"I thought Tom (Moores) took it to them and there was a shift in momentum when he was going. His was a great knock and he’ll learn a lot from that.
"I always had faith and every one of us in that dressing room had the belief that we can knock those runs off, regardless of what situation we were in and we did it and can look forward to Sunday now."