Nasser Hussain praised Cameron White's power-hitting after Northamptonshire overcame Durham by 36 runs to book their place in this month's Friends Life t20 Finals.
Australian White smashed 58no off 32 balls - an innings that included four sixes and as many fours - to power his side to 183-4 off 20 overs at Wantage Road.
Ben Stokes smote 51 off 29 balls in reply but the visitors were ultimately undone by White's pyrotechnics, said Sky Cricket's Hussain.
"He played really well - he changed the course of the innings, really," said the former England skipper.
"They were going to a good score and then when he started smashing the spinners he took them to a score that we all felt was just a little bit too far for Durham.
"He struck the ball cleanly with the spin and then when the leg-spinner [Scott Borthwick] came on he went after him towards the midwicket area. In general he goes over extra cover - he likes to go in to out - but that was some power-hitting."
The victory continues a fine run of form for Northamptonshire, who sit second in both division two of the County Championship and Group A of the Yorkshire Bank 40.
Their upturn can, in part, be attributed to the form of 29-year-old seamer Azarullah who took his 24th FLt20 wicket of the campaign against Durham and Sky Cricket pundit Nick Knight said the Pakistani has unquestionably helped to lift the club's fortunes.
"They won seven of their 10 games in the group stages so they were bound to be full of confidence," reflected the former England and Warwickshire opener.
"They've played well in all forms of the game so there is a slight change when you come to Wantage Road now - you do expect a little bit of a performance from this side.
"Azarullah has made a huge difference because he's just given them that consistency at the end of the game. They've all improved but I think Azarullah has made the difference in giving them the chance to win more games."
The victory means Northamptonshire will make only their second finals day appearance on August 17 while Surrey will join them at Edgbaston after reaching the final four for the first time since 2006 thanks to a three-wicket victory over Somerset at the Oval.
The visitors posted 148-6 off their 20 overs thanks largely to an unbeaten 70 off 51 balls from Craig Kieswetter but Knight felt they were undone by some canny bowling from Surrey skipper Gareth Batty, who took some gloss of his side's success by getting involved in a heated exchange with Peter Trego after bowling the big-hitter for 33 off 26 balls.
"I think home advantage counted for Surrey. Somerset ended probably 20 light of what was a good score," said Knight.
"Whether that was by Surrey's design, keeping Kieswetter off strike I don't know but I thought Gareth Batty's spell (1-24) had some part to play in that. Batty was involved in it all at the end but I thought he had a good game as captain and bowler."
The Friends Life t20 quarter-finals continue on Wednesday when Hampshire take on Lancashire on Sky Sports Ashes from 7pm before concluding on Thursday with Nottinghamshire against Essex.