The 36-year-old hit three sixes and six fours in an unbeaten 62 - his first half-century in the format for three years in his 110th consecutive appearance - and in taking two for 14 from three overs of his left-arm spin entered the record books as the first English player to complete the double of 250 wickets and 5,000 runs in Twenty20 cricket.
Patel said: “There was a lot riding on the fixture, especially with where we are in the points table and a lot of credit has to go to Ben Duckett for the way he played because it is not always Hales or Clarke that gets us off to a flyer and it is through different players being able to change games that we’ve won it twice in the last four years.
“Me and Steven Mullaney have done a great job over the years in strangling teams and not letting them get boundaries and I think we did that really well tonight.
“We played with the right character and a lot of freedom and Ball and Fletcher stayed calm under pressure at the end.”
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Derbyshire’s Twenty20 coach Dominic Cork said:
“That hurts because it was a game we should have won but credit to Nottinghamshire, they know how to put you under pressure and Samit Patel played really well but if we are honest that is a game we let slip away.
“You couldn’t complain about the start because Logan Van Beek was excellent but we gave them maybe 15 or 20 runs too many.
“And when we batted, credit to Mullaney and Patel for suffocating our boundaries, but when you lose wickets you lose momentum. We need to turn more of these close games into victories and we probably have to win three of four next four games.”
Luis Reece hit 56 from 26 balls and Leus Du Plooy an unbeaten 58 including a six off the last ball but Derbyshire fell two runs short of their target of 153.
Ben Duckett supported Patel with 38 off 25 balls as the Outlaws totalled 152 for six, the wickets shared equally between seamers Logan Van Beek and George Scrimshaw.
Asked to bat first, the Outlaws lost top scorers Alex Hales and Joe Clarke in the opening over, Hales leg before for a duck after Logan Van Beek’s opening delivery was called wide, Clarke well caught by Billy Godleman on the run from mid-off.
Debutant Sol Budinger confidently cut his first ball for four off Conor McKerr but was dropped at mid-off in the same over and miscued Van Beek to be caught by the wicketkeeper in the next.
The Outlaws were restricted to 40 for three from a 4.3 over powerplay before Scrimshaw removed Tom Moores. Duckett pulled Luis Reece for the first six of the night but fell when Scrimshaw found some extra bounce and had him caught at backward point. Scrimshaw claimed his third wicket as Mullaney holed out to midwicket but Patel lifted Finn Hudson-Prentice and Critchley’s leg spin over the rope in a 23-ball half-century and did the same to McKerr.
Derbyshire were 19 without loss after an untidy first over by spinner Matt Carter. They were checked by Jake Ball taking wickets with his first two balls as Harry Came looped to deep gully and Billy Godleman hit straight to mid-off but Luis Reece hit Luke Fletcher for 18 and there were sixes for both Reece and Leus du Plooy in Ball’s second over as Derbyshire posted 61 for two in the powerplay.
Reece fell when he picked out Hales on the long-on boundary before Patel took his place in the record books by pinning Critchley leg before as the left-arm spinner teamed up with skipper Mullaney in stemming the flow of runs, Patel bowling Hudson-Prentice, before holding a tricky catch as Carter dismissed Brooke Guest.
Du Plooy hit three sixes to take the Falcons close but ultimately not close enough.