THERE is a long way to go, of course, but it might just be that the NatWest T20 Blast represents Yorkshire’s best chance this season of winning a trophy.
Knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Royal London Cup, and struggling for form in the County Championship, the club could well be relying on a competition in which they have traditionally failed to prosper.
Two Finals Day appearances since the format was introduced in 2003, and no silverware as yet, points to an unflattering track record in the game’s shortest version.
However, the Vikings have the players and the firepower to flourish this time, boosted by the signings of batsmen Shaun Marsh and Tom Kohler-Cadmore, and every reason to suppose that they can improve on last year’s semi-final finish.
Confidence will certainly have been boosted by a 48-run win over Nottinghamshire, which represented a splendid start to Yorkshire’s North Group campaign.
After winning the toss on an overcast, sultry evening, the sort for which headache pills were invented, Yorkshire scored a whopping 227-5 from their 20 overs, surpassing their previous best T20 total of 223-6 against Durham at Headingley last summer.
Adam Lyth put his Championship troubles behind him to top-score with 82 from 50 balls with seven fours and three sixes, while Marsh recorded an unbeaten 60 on his maiden appearance for the club from 37 deliveries with four fours and two sixes.
David Willey chipped in with 25 from 13, Peter Handscomb with 21 from seven, and Jack Leaning with 17 from seven as Yorkshire flayed 16 fours and 11 sixes.
On a night when 10,037 spectators packed into Headingley, Yorkshire’s highest home T20 crowd outside of a Roses match, the only downside to the hosts’ boundary barrage was that the PA announcer decided to give his personal take on every four and six struck.
Thus we were treated to such pearls as: “No need to run for those – fabulous shot from Adam Lyth, and it’s four more for the Vikings.”
And the resoundingly absurd: “From power to precision, he’s split the field – that’s four more from Shaun Marsh.”
Notts, who hit 15 fours and nine sixes of their own, never really threatened to chase what would also have been their highest T20 total.
They successfully pursued 201 in the corresponding match three years ago, but only Alex Hales (47 from 26) and Steven Mullaney (39 from 23) produced notable contributions this time, Azeem Rafiq and Steve Patterson each claiming two wickets.
Lyth’s innings was a particular tonic for Yorkshire, the left-hander setting the tone by taking 14 runs off the opening over of the match.
Luke Wood was pulled for six over the long square-leg boundary towards the East Stand, then helped around the corner for four and then clinically cover-driven to the West Stand rope.
Lyth’s opening partner Kohler-Cadmore shimmied down the track to smash his first delivery to the mid-off boundary off Harry Gurney, who had him nicely caught in the second over by wicketkeeper Tom Moores off a huge top-edge.
After Willey holed out to long-on, leaving Yorkshire 70-2 in the seventh, Lyth went to a 32-ball half-century by hammering spinner Ish Sodhi for a straight six.
Yorkshire were 98-2 at halfway and never took their foot off the gas, Lyth and Marsh adding 83 in 8.5 overs before Lyth also skied to the wicketkeeper.
Marsh reached his fifty from 33 balls, the Australian playing skilfully all around the ground in an impressive debut.
Gurney bowled Leaning and had Handscomb caught at deep square-leg to finish with 3-49, Yorkshire thrashing 52 off the last three overs.
Notts started positively; Hales had hit 30 inside only four overs when he was dropped at deep mid-wicket by Rafiq off Tim Bresnan.
It might have been costly, but, after Michael Lumb lofted Bresnan to deep mid-off, Rafiq atoned by having Hales caught at deep mid-wicket off his first delivery.
Adil Rashid bowled Patel; Rafiq caught Riki Wessels off his own bowling; Patterson had Mullaney caught at deep mid-wicket and then Wood caught behind, while Willey ran-out Sodhi.