Jordan Thompson smashes Yorkshire CCC back to the top of T20 Blast

T20 on a Saturday night in Headingley.

Top bat: Yorkshire's Jordan Thompson thanks the fans for their support after being dismissed for 74 against Northants. Picture: SWPix
Top bat: Yorkshire's Jordan Thompson thanks the fans for their support after being dismissed for 74 against Northants. Picture: SWPix

The combination seems tailor-made, the sporting equivalent of 10 pints and a kebab.

It has not happened very often down the years; Yorkshire usually play their T20s on weekday evenings or Sunday afternoons.

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But gaps in the schedule are increasingly rare, and this was the second half of a double-header after the Northern Diamonds women played Thunder earlier in the day.

So the stage was set and the sun shone too, but you still need the players to produce the pyrotechnics.

Yorkshire’s were only too happy to oblige as they ran out victors by 82 runs, specifically Jordan Thompson the 24-year-old all-rounder, who maintained his explosive form with the bat.

Three days after crashing a career-best 66 not out from 28 balls against Worcestershire, when he shared a match-winning English record T20 sixth-wicket stand of 141 with Harry Brook, Thompson raised his personal bar to 74.

There were seven sixes and three fours in his 35-ball innings, plus the odd swing and miss and a couple of slices of luck when balls landed just out of fielders’ reach, but one could only admire the Saturday night striking as he peppered the stands like over-active seagulls at the Scarborough Festival.

Thompson’s innings underpinned a total of 224-3 after Adam Lyth, Yorkshire’s latest T20 captain owing to the absence of David Willey and Joe Root due to England obligations, chose to bat on the usual good surface.

It was Yorkshire’s seventh-highest T20 total and also featured a half-century on debut from loan signing Mark Stoneman.

The Surrey opener, recruited for the rest of the group stage due to Yorkshire’s various international and injury absences, struck 10 boundaries – the bulk of them powerfully square of the wicket – en route to bringing up his fifty from 30 deliveries.

Stoneman fell to his next ball, pinned on the back leg by Afghan off-spinner Mohammad Nabi as he tried to sweep, leaving Yorkshire 113-2 in the 12th after Lyth had been bowled in the fifth over aiming to leg.

Thompson, promoted to No 3 from his usual No 7, shared in a second-wicket stand of 79 in 41 balls with Stoneman, hammering Rob Keogh’s off-spin for successive straight sixes.

Thompson reached his fifty from 27 balls, the biggest and best of his sixes when seamer Tom Taylor was lofted into the middle tier of an Emerald Stand that looked a picture in the mid-summer sunshine.

Taylor eventually got rid of Thompson, judging an extremely difficult skier running in from long-off after Thompson had got the height but not the distance off pace bowler Brandon Glover.

Brook (45 from 26 balls) and Gary Ballance (20 from 13) added an unbroken 58 off the last 4.3 overs, 27 of those runs coming off the 20th over bowled by former Yorkshire pace man Ben Sanderson, including a brace of sixes by both batsmen.

Alas, the excitement was too much for a handful of halfwits in the West Stand, who took their Saturday night revelry to predictable extremes when they ran across the pitch in fancy dress.

Thus we were treated to the spectacle of three pirates and a parrot (what a great title for a book, incidentally) – all pursued by a steward who was rumoured to have pulled a hamstring in the process. Perhaps Yorkshire could sign another steward on loan...

Northants, bottom of the North Group, were never likely to chase such a towering target but they made a reasonable fist of it at first.

Ricardo Vasconcelos and Adam Rossington added 46 for the first wicket in 4.3 overs, Rossington run-out charging to the danger end by a direct hit from cover by Dominic Bess.

Bess then played the key role with the ball, taking the next three wickets as Vasconcelos drove to cover, Nabi lofted to long-on, and Wayne Parnell holed out to deep backward-square, the visitors sliding to 78-4 in the ninth.

Bess finished with excellent figures of 4-0-17-3, a career-best in the T20 format.

Wickets continued to fall as Saif Zaib skied to square-leg, Charlie Thurston was run-out by a direct hit from Ballance at short fine-leg, Taylor caught at deep mid-wicket and Graeme White at backward point.

Matthew Waite trapped Rob Keogh for the top score of 36 and then had Sanderson caught at deep square-leg, Matthew Fisher also capturing two wickets as Northants were dismissed for 142 with three balls left.

Victory took Yorkshire back to the top of the North Group, where they exchanged places with Nottinghamshire.