Friends Life t20, New Road
Nottinghamshire 152 beat Worcestershire 142-5 by 10 runs
Patel took a tidy 1-21 and chipped in with the key run-out of Moeen Ali
Nottinghamshire booked their FL t20 quarter-final place as Worcestershire wasted a good winning position to lose by 10 runs at New Road.
Despite Alex Hales (39) and Tamim Iqbal (35) sharing a first-wicket stand of 69, Notts were bowled out for 152.
After 51 from Moeen Ali, the home side still looked well set on 116-2.
But Worcestershire pressed the panic button, losing three quick wickets to fall short on 142-5, leaving their own qualification hopes in a bit of doubt.
Nottinghamshire, whose best effort in Twenty20 was reaching the final in 2006, are the first team to qualify for this year's last eight.
With a crowd of little more than 1,000 in the ground on a gloomy evening, the hosts had looked on course to cause a surprise after dismissing the North Group leaders for their lowest total in 10 attempts when batting first in FL t20 matches this summer.
But Samit Patel, on a day release from England's limited-over squad, halted Worcestershire's flying start when he had Jack Manuel stumped for 21, while conceding only 21 runs in four overs.
And then he ran out Moeen for 51 after the opener had looked well set, hitting 10 boundaries.
Worcestershire's challenge then petered out when Alexei Kervezee (21) and Shakib Al Hasan (20) departed in the space of four balls.
Earlier, Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal continued to make an impact on the competition, taking 3-28 to give him 15 wickets in six games so far.
But Worcestershire's second straight defeat leaves them probably needing to win their final two group games to stand any chance of qualifying for the last eight for only the third time in nine attempts.