Agony as Yorkshire Vikings fall short of T20 Finals Day again

THE LAST time that Yorkshire travelled to Chester-le-Street for a T20 quarter-final, back in 2008, the game was dramatically called off 10 minutes before the start of play when it emerged that they had fielded an ineligible player in a previous round.

Yorkshire Vikings' Jordan Thompson is dejected after his side's loss to the Sussex Sharks. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

The name of the player was Azeem Rafiq.

Yorkshire were kicked out of the tournament, egg on their paperwork.

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Last night’s match at least went ahead – progress of a sort – but how Yorkshire now must wish it had not.

Sussex'sLuke Wright is bowled by Viking's Adil Rashid but it wasn't enough to prevent defeat for the 'hosts'. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

At the neutral venue of Emirates Riverside, with Emerald Headingley in use for the Test, they were seen off by a Sussex team who ran out five-wicket winners to book their place at Finals Day on September 18.

After Yorkshire totalled 177-7, Gary Ballance and Tom Kohler-Cadmore joint top-scoring with 55, Sussex squeezed home with two balls left, Luke Wright striking 54 and, crucially at the finish, Rashid Khan an unbeaten 27 from nine balls with three fours and two sixes.

Some of Rashid’s shots sounded like gunfire piercing the tranquillity of the countryside. Defeat was especially tough on Ballance and also Jordan Thompson, Yorkshire’s best bowler with 3-28.

“We were a few runs under par,” reflected David Willey, the Yorkshire captain. “We had the best of the conditions and we just didn’t do the basics well enough in the field, which ultimately cost us.

Yorkshire Vikings' Tom Kohler-Cadmore hits out against Sussex Sharks Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“Rashid batted nicely at the end to get them across the line. Credit to them, and good luck to them at the finals.”

As was the case 13 years ago, when a classic and contemptuous scoreboard announcement informed the several thousand bemused fans present, “The match has been postponed. For further info, please visit www.durhamccc.co.uk”, it was a pleasant evening in the north-east, with the Blast emerging from its five-week hibernation.

Willey chose to bat having opted to reduce the boundary dimensions at one of the country’s largest playing arenas in an effort to replicate conditions at Headingley.

Three wickets fell in the six-over powerplay for 43 runs, Adam Lyth and Willey both skying to Chris Jordan at mid-on, and Harry Brook falling lbw sweeping at Rashid.

Having slipped to 33-3 in the fifth over when Brook departed, the tournament’s third-highest scorer gone for a single, Ballance and Kohler-Cadmore added 85 from 61 balls.

Ballance was the aggressor, slog-sweeping Will Beer for six and also pulling maximums off Jordan and Rashid, the latter stroke raising his half-century from 34 deliveries.

Kohler-Cadmore was unusually becalmed, not striking his first boundary until the 12th over when he launched the left-arm pace of George Garton over long-off, but after Ballance holed out to deep mid-wicket off Garton, Kohler-Cadmore struck successive sixes off Jordan over long-on and backward-point.

Thompson thumped a rapid 16 before slicing Tymal Mills to backward-point, Kohler-Cadmore reaching his half-century from 47 balls. He faced two more deliveries, perishing in the penultimate over when skying Mills to wicketkeeper Phil Salt, who took an excellent catch running back towards the boundary.

Earlier, television replays showed that Kohler-Cadmore should have been given out for one caught behind by Salt off Garton, only for umpire Peter Hartley to miss the nick. Matthew Waite fell in the final over, bowled trying to ramp Jordan, with Mills finishing with 3-39.

Wright and Salt sped Sussex to 53-0 at the end of the powerplay, Wright dropped off the final ball of it on 31 when wicketkeeper Harry Duke failed to claim a skier off Waite, but Yorkshire finally struck in the ninth over when Thompson broke the opening stand at 72, Salt picking out Lyth at long-on. Thompson struck again when Duke this time took a splendid catch, one-handed to his right, when Ravi Bopara seemed to be trying to withdraw his bat.

Adil Rashid got the key wicket of Wright, bowled aiming a sweep, having faced 39 balls and hit six fours and a six, leaving Sussex 111-3 in the 14th, the required rate having risen above 10.

Matthew Fisher bowled Delray Rawlins for an unconvincing 27, and when Thompson had David Wiese caught by Lyth at long-on, Sussex required 22 from the final two. Thanks to the redoubtable Rashid, they got there – just.