Worcestershire Rapids are now definitely through to the quarter-finals of the NatWest T20 Blast after tonight's four wicket win over Derbyshire Falcons at the 3aaa County Ground.

But whether or not they secure a home tie might not be decided until next Friday's final North Group match at home to Lancashire Lightning.

Northamptonshire Steelbacks kept alive their hopes of a top two spot by defeating Yorkshire Vikings this evening.

As the table stands Birmingham Bears – beaten tonight by the Lightning – and the Rapids have 18 points apiece from 12 and 13 games respectively with Northants on 15 points from 12 games.

Birmingham and Northants meet at Edgbaston next Wednesday before the competition reaches a climax a week today.

The Rapids clocked up a magnificent sixth successive away victory in the competition with three balls to spare after being set a 150 target.

Jack Shantry set the tone for the Falcons innings by conceding only two runs in the opening over and he finished with the excellent figures of 1-15 from his four overs.

But it was his new ball partner Joe Leach who made a double breakthrough in his first over. He had Hamish Rutherford (1) caught at slip and, after being hit for two fours by Chesney Hughes, bowled the same player for eight with his next delivery after the batsman had made room.

It became 22-3 when Ed Barnard dismissed Shiv Thakor (7) – caught at point – and at the end of the powerplay the Falcons total stood on 27-3.

Saeed Ajmal took his wicket tally to 20 in the competition this season by having opening Wes Durson (32) well caught at long on by Barnard.

Billy Godleman struck Rapids skipper Daryl Mitchell for successive sixes as the 100 came up in the 14th over.

But Mitchell had his revenge as Godleman (33) was caught at backward point.

Ajmal struck again to account for Wayne Madsen (18) and he completed another important spell with an analysis of 4-0-21-2.

Leach ran out Tom Knight (21) off his own bowling and Shantry collected a deserved wicket by removing Alex Hughes off the final delivery of the innings.

Richard Oliver gave the Rapids innings early impetus with a boundary in each of the first three overs.

The left handed and Mitchell put on 36 before the latter departed to Thakor for 13 in the fifth over, caught on the leg-side boundary.

Two more boundaries from Oliver off Greg Cork in the final over of the powerplay helped the Rapids reach 47-1 from six overs.

There was a lull in the scoring before Tom Kohler-Cadmore (7) went for a cut and became a victim of Alex Hughes at backward point and the Rapids stood on 65-2 at the 10 over mark.

Oliver reached 45 off 38 balls with seven boundaries but his departure at long on to Nathan Rimmington at the end of the 12th over meant 69 were required from eight overs.

Brett D'Oliveira, who scored his maiden 50 against Birmingham Bears last week, made only a single this time before he provided a second success for Alex Hughes who finished with 2-21 from his four overs.

Colin Munro made a rapid 30 from 19 balls including a 4-6-4 sequence in an over from Durston before he was fifth out – to Cork – when caught at deep square leg.

Ross Whiteley took his sixes tally to 27 for 2015 with two more before he was bowled by Nathan Rimmington for 16.

Sixteen were needed off the final two overs but the contest was effectively settled when Joe Leach picked up a boundary from a Rimmington no ball in the penultimate over to ease the pressure.

Worcestershire Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes said: “Delighted with the win although we could have played better again.

We weren’t quite on our A game tonight so once again to win when you don’t quite play as well as you can do is a really good sign.”

NORTH GROUP LEADING POSITIONS

Worcs Rapids Played 13, Won 9, Lost 4, Tied 0, No Result 0, Points 18, Run rate 0.682

Bham Bears 12, 9, 3, 0, 0, 18, 0.261

Northants Steelbacks 12, 7, 4, 0, 1, 15, 0.138

Lancs Lightning 13, 7, 6, 0, 0, 14, 0.469

Notts Outlaws 13, 7, 6, 0, 0, 14, 0.018