Another day, another defeat for Yorkshire as winless run continues
Whether they had turned up to the right “Super Sunday” was a different matter as the Premier League reached a concurrent conclusion.
While others were more interested in what was going on at Elland Road and elsewhere, with relegation issues to be determined, cricket’s gluttons for punishment proceeded to a venue where there has been plenty of pain on offer one way or another in recent times.
Although the Northern Diamonds women’s side, whose fixture against Sunrisers formed the second part of this particular “Super Sunday”, have had an extremely successful time of it lately, the same cannot be said of the Yorkshire men’s team, for whom the long wait for a win continues.
A 28-run defeat against Durham - their third loss out of three in this year’s Blast - extended their winless sequence to 12 matches in all competitions.
Not since August 21 have Yorkshire won, when they beat Derbyshire at Chesterfield in the Royal London Cup.
Their hopes of winning this were effectively dashed by a Durham total of 217-3, the fourth-highest in their history, and their highest against Yorkshire, for whom this was the seventh-largest T20 score they have conceded.
Although Yorkshire kept up with the required rate for the first half of their reply, their challenge wilted under scoreboard pressure and Durham were comfortable winners in the end, the hosts falling short in every department.
Alex Lees led the way against his former club, the opener top-scoring with a T20 career-best 90 after his opposite number Shan Masood inserted beneath overcast skies.
Lees, who faced 53 balls and hit six fours and four sixes, was his finest bullying self, brandishing his bat like a scythe and thumping anything slightly off line and length.
He shared in two key stands - 85 for the second wicket with Michael Jones, who made 43 from 34 after Durham lost a wicket to the first legitimate ball of the match when Graham Clark chased a wide one from Matty Fisher and was caught behind, and then 111 for the third-wicket with Ollie Robinson, the wicketkeeper also making a T20 career-best - 64 not out from 30 balls with three fours and four sixes.
The latter partnership, fashioned from 58 balls, was not broken until the penultimate over when Lees’s eyes lit up at a full toss from Ben Mike, which he pulled to deep-backward square-leg in front of the East Stand, Jafer Chohan judging a fine catch, moving to his left.
Jones had fallen in the 10th over when he mis-timed off-spinner Dom Bess to Lyth at long-off; otherwise, on a pitch full of runs, Yorkshire struggled to exert any control save for a brief period at the start and then in the middle when Bess and Chohan were twirling in tandem.
Lees’s bat looked six-feet wide, the left-hander clubbing three fours in David Wiese’s second over, the fourth of the innings, which injected impetus into Durham’s display.
Later, the left-hander pulled successive sixes off Bess towards the West Stand to reach 50 from 29 balls, Durham having reached a healthy 91-2 at halfway.
Robinson, so often a thorn in Yorkshire’s side with the bat, reached his half-century from just 25 balls, including an extraordinary scoop for six towards the Emerald Stand off Jordan Thompson.
In the final over, Robinson pulled Thompson back over his head and into the middle tier of the same stand, a massive hit if not quite in Liam Livingstone stand-clearing territory.
Lees gave one chance; he was dropped on 73 by Lyth, his former opening partner, a difficult opportunity off Wiese running back from mid-off.
When Wiese served up a full toss next ball, Lees gratefully helped it into the West Stand to pass his previous T20 best of 77 not out, the stroke also bringing up his hundred stand with Robinson. Only Fisher and Chohan conceded less than 10 runs an over as Yorkshire’s bowling looked ragged.
Faced with a huge target, the hosts needed a speed-of-light start and got it thanks to Lyth, who hit 24 off his first seven balls - including two leg-side sixes - before skying his next delivery high into the air, Robinson running from behind the stumps to short square-leg to take the catch.
Yorkshire fell to 37-2 from the penultimate ball of the third over when Masood clipped Bas de Leede firmly to mid-wicket, the 23-year-old Dutch all-rounder otherwise having a tough time of it from the Kirkstall Lane end.
Dawid Malan huffed and puffed before lofting leg-spinner Nathan Sowter to deep cover, and Matty Revis no doubt huffed and puffed all the way back to the pavilion after he was run out following a mix-up with Tattersall.
Tattersall went on to the top score of 39 from 32 balls before pulling Ben Raine to deep-backward square, which left Yorkshire 141-5 in the 16th. Thompson struck a breezy 33 from 24 balls, including three sixes, before falling lbw to Raine, who had Wiese caught at deep mid-wicket off the penultimate delivery for 28 from 14 balls, three of them sixes.
All in all, it was a team innings full of cameos but nothing substantial and a display that betrayed a team struggling for confidence.
From somewhere, anywhere, Yorkshire need a win.