Hampshire’s quest for a domestic one-day double ended in glory as they grabbed a pulsating last-ball victory over Warwickshire in the CB40 final by virtue of losing fewer wickets.
Kabir Ali dismissed Neil Carter from the final ball of the game, with the Bears needing just a single to edge past Hampshire’s total of 244 for five.
But with the scores level, Ali and Michael Bates combined in a thrilling climax as the Royals grabbed a second piece of silverware to follow their Friends Life t20 success last month.
Having lost the toss and been invited to bat first, the Royals raced away to a superb start with Michael Carberry (35) in particularly blistering form at the top of the order.
James Vince (18) was the first batsman to perish before Carberry then followed him - as both fell to Jeetan Patel catches.
But skipper Jimmy Adams was the man to steady the ship as he started patiently and then began to find his rhythm with one six and four fours, only to drag a Chris Woakes delivery on to his stumps to end his innings for 66 when he looked set for a Lord’s century.
That left Sean Ervine (57) and Simon Katich (35 not out) to carry Hampshire towards a competitive total as they put on 69 in seven overs - with Ervine in especially destructive mood.
In reply, Warwickshire got off to a decent start themselves until Chris Wood (three for 39) made the breakthrough to remove Varun Chopra (26).
But the key man was always going to be Bell, who looked in seriously good touch as he crafted his way to a brilliant 81.
With the England man at the crease, the Bears looked favourites but as David Griffiths appeared to be getting the treatment, the Royals bowler had the final say as Bell clubbed him straight to Carberry on the boundary in what appeared to be the game’s pivotal moment.
Chris Woakes then took on the mantle to get his side needing seven runs from Kabir Ali’s final over but the Royals held their nerve once again.