Chasing 133, the Rockets needed 42 from 24 balls with three wickets left when Stokes dropped Hales on the boundary edge – the ball also going for six.
Until then, Hales, who finished 40 not out from 34 balls, had struggled to lay bat on ball but thumped David Willey for a towering six to seal the win with six balls to spare, sending a large Trent Bridge crowd wild.
The Rockets had earlier been given just a two percent chance of winning by the win predictor, after Adil Rashid and the Superchargers’ spinners reduced them to 85 for seven.
Northern Superchargers: 132 in 99 balls (Simpson 42, De Lange 3/22)
Trent Rockets 134/8 in 94 balls (Hales 40 n.o, Parkinson 2/19). (BBC)