This was a shocking display by Yorkshire, who had gone into the game as North Group leaders, but who dropped to second on net run-rate below Nottinghamshire after a 10-wicket defeat to Birmingham Bears sealed with 11.3 overs to spare.
Yorkshire’s total of 81 all-out after choosing to bat was their lowest in the 18 years of the T20 tournament, undercutting their 90-9 against Durham at Chester-le-Street in 2009.
It was the lowest T20 total that the hosts had conceded – previously 96 by Northants at Wantage Road in 2011, and by Gloucesteshire at Cheltenham in 2013 – and the match was done and dusted in not much more than 90 minutes, barely enough time for Edgbaston’s student population to get drunk enough to invade the pitch.
Adam Lyth the Yorkshire captain, made no attempt to sugarcoat the pill.
“It’s not good enough,” he said. “Five or six lads got out the same way – that can happen in T20, but we just didn’t adapt quickly enough and build partnerships.
“The score won’t reflect it, but I thought it was a pretty good wicket – a bit of pace and extra bounce.
“To get bowled out for 81, we left our bowlers with no chance.”
Unchanged following their thumping 82-run win against Northants on Saturday, which left them – still leaves them – with the best part of one foot in the quarter-finals, Yorkshire started the game in promising style in sun-kissed conditions in the Second City.
Lyth took 15 off the first over bowled by Tim Bresnan, his former team-mate, including a magnificent six over cover that suggested that he was about to put a largely disappointing tournament behind him after five single-figure scores in eight innings.
Not this time.
Lyth chopped on to the game’s ninth ball, triggering a clatter of wickets that left the refreshing of spectators’ beer glasses almost impossible unless they were prepared to resign themselves to missing huge chunks of action.
Man-of-the-moment Jordan Thompson feathered behind cheaply. Gary Ballance and Mark Stoneman miscued pulls, the latter having taken eight deliveries to get off the mark. George Hill defended to slip for a second-ball duck. Dom Bess cross-batted horribly to mid-on. Jonny Tattersall missed a reverse-sweep and was stumped.
Stop me if you’ve heard enough, by the way...
Matthew Waite defended to the keeper. Matthew Fisher cross-batted horribly to mid-off. And Lockie Ferguson was stumped dancing down the pitch.
Twenty-five balls of the innings went unused, the highest stand was 19 for the first-wicket between Lyth and Stoneman (all of them to Lyth), and there were just eight boundaries, five of them inside the first 3.4 overs.
Harry Brook’s unbeaten 28 from 24 balls was the highest score, with Lyth the only other player to reach double figures. The only mitigation is that Yorkshire were missing a number of players to injury/international duty, mitigation that was not necessary, however, when they were nobbling Northants.
The Birmingham bowling figures were more miserly than anything that Ebeneezer Scrooge could possibly have dreamt of; Carlos Brathwaite took 3-7 from two overs and Craig Miles 4-19 from four, Miles’s figures “ruined”, so to say, when Brook thumped his final ball over backward square-leg for six.
Danny Briggs took 2-12 from 3.5, with Bresnan’s contrastingly expensive return of 1-21 from two overs standing out like a streaker at a seance.
On a night when the home crowd seemed almost bored by the lack of a proper contest, as if watching the lions at work in a Roman colosseum, the only question was how quickly their heroes would gorge on the points.
The answer, as Ed Pollock and Adam Hose set about their task, was quickly enough, with 10 coming off the first over bowled by Fisher and 14 off the second delivered by Ferguson, at which stage Birmingham were practically a third of the way to their target.
Hose whacked Waite for three successive fours, Thompson’s first three deliveries went for 4, 6, 4 off the bat of Pollock, and Hose won it with a pulled six off Ferguson, ending a Birmingham run of three straight defeats.
If the earth could have opened up and swallowed the Yorkshire players then they would surely have put up scant resistance.
Now that drawing board awaits before Lancashire come a-visiting Emerald Headingley on Friday evening.
“We’ve got another game coming up and hopefully we can bounce back,” said Lyth.
“We have to keep trusting the way we’re playing.
“Hopefully against Lancashire we can put up a good fight and some more points on the board.”
It is a swift chance at least, to get this pill out the system.