A STEP forward followed by a step back.
After beating Notts by 48 runs on Friday, Yorkshire lost by three runs against Derbyshire on Saturday.
Against Notts they had the look of potential champions.
Against Derbyshire they pulled up agonisingly short, but they still look strong in the game’s shortest form.
After winning the toss at the beautiful Queen’s Park, Derbyshire scored 165-8 from their 20 overs, Wayne Madsen top-scoring with 42 and Daryn Smit striking an unbeaten 30.
Yorkshire managed 162-7 in reply, Adam Lyth top-scoring with 68 and David Willey plundering 42, but the visitors left themselves with slightly too much to do.
Needing 18 off the last over, bowled by New Zealand international Matt Henry, Yorkshire accrued 14 as captain Tim Bresnan nearly pulled it off.
But with four wanted from the last ball, Bresnan was caught at cover to finish an exciting match.
Before a sell-out 4,500 crowd on a sunny afternoon, blown along by a cooling breeze, an unchanged Yorkshire team were all over their opponents at the start.
Willey landed the first blow in the third over, having Billy Godleman caught at point by Azeem Rafiq, and Steve Patterson bowled fellow opener Ben Slater to leave the hosts 27-2 in the sixth.
Against Derbyshire they pulled up agonisingly short, but they still look strong in the game’s shortest form.The YP’s Chris Waters
Rafiq made it 31-3 in the seventh when a reverse-sweeping Luis Reece was caught by Matthew Waite at point off a top-edge, and the off-spinner struck again when Derbyshire captain Gary Wilson sliced to Adil Rashid at point.
Derbyshire limped to 61-4 at halfway, but they began the second half of their innings in much better style, 20 arriving off the 11th over - Rafiq’s last, which rather spoilt his figures and left him with 2-40 from four.
Pace bowler Henry did the damage, striking the first ball of the over for six over mid-wicket, the second for a one-bounce four in the same direction, and the third for a straight six into the pavilion.
Thirteen also came off the next over, bowled by Rashid, as Derbyshire belatedly sparked into life.
But after Henry also pulled Waite for six, Willey tipping the ball over the bar in front of the scoreboard, he skewed the all-rounder’s next delivery to Bresnan at cover to depart for 28 from 10 balls.
Henry added 57 for the fifth wicket with Madsen from 26 balls, the highest stand of the innings.
Madsen struck six fours in his 28-ball stay, ended when he sliced Patterson to Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who took a good catch running to his left from mid-off.
Derbyshire fell to 120-7 in the 15th when Alex Hughes lofted Rashid to Willey at deep mid-wicket, but they needed a late flurry from Smit and Matt Critchley, who added 43 in five.
Smit dented Willey’s figures by helping to take 19 off his last over, clubbing him for two sixes over backward square-leg as the England man finished with 1-33 from four overs, while Critchley contributed 13 before skying a Bresnan slower ball bouncer to Rafiq at cover.
Bresnan captured 1-18 from his three overs, while the excellent Patterson returned 2-19 from four.
Yorkshire’s chase began poorly when Kohler-Cadmore was bowled second ball as Madsen started with a wicket maiden.
But Willey got things moving by taking 18 off the fourth over, bowled by Henry, whom he clubbed for a huge six over square-leg in addition to three fours.
Lyth had a life when he was dropped on five by Wilson at cover off Madsen, but Yorkshire had advanced to 55 by the time their second wicket went down in the eighth over, Willey caught at deep cover off leg-spinner Imran Tahir.
It became 57-3 in the next over when Shaun Marsh miscued Hardus Viljoen to Henry at mid-on, and Yorkshire were 65-3 at the halfway stage - four runs and a wicket better off than their hosts.
Lyth had a second life on 30 when Critchley dropped a tough diving chance off his own bowling, the left-hander rubbing salt into the bowler’s wounds by battering his next delivery for six over square-leg and his next for four through the covers.
It was never a walk-in-the-park run-chase, and Lyth tried his utmost as the visitors neared their target.
After top-scoring with 82 against Notts, Lyth went to his second successive half-century from 41 balls with four fours and two sixes, gradually upping the tempo like a long-distance runner approaching the finish line.
Lyth added 63 inside seven overs with Peter Handscomb, who was stumped off Tahir as Yorkshire slipped to 120-4 in the 16th.
It was the first of two wickets in Tahir’s last over, Jack Leaning falling lbw as the spinner ended with 3-18 from four.
Lyth fell to the final ball of the penultimate over when he was caught by Madsen on the long-off boundary off Viljoen; a fraction more carry and it would been six, leaving 12 needed off the last over.
On such fine margins are T20 games decided.