Limits of Yorkshire’s Twenty20 line-up are exposed once again

Yorkshire's Gary Ballance cuts.
Yorkshire's Gary Ballance cuts.
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THE sight of Joe Root warming up with his Yorkshire team-mates prior to last night’s match was a sharp reminder of what the club have been missing in terms of key personnel in the Twenty20 Cup.

Root did not play in the game at Trent Bridge; he merely undertook fitness work under the guidance of Yorkshire’s strength and conditioning coach Tom Summers ahead of next Thursday’s third Test against Australia at Old Trafford.

But his presence was sufficient to emphasise that this is not the same Yorkshire side that swept to Finals Day last summer, when Root played 12 of the 13 matches.

Rather, it is a side shorn not only of Root but also his England colleagues Jonny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan, plus the overseas players David Miller and Mitchell Starc and the injured Andrew Gale and Phil Jaques.

If it is hardly surprising, therefore, that Yorkshire have gone from heroes to zeroes in the game’s shortest form, it did not entirely excuse the record of two wins from eight games they brought here to Nottingham.

There is still enough quality and experience in the side to have expected something better – better, certainly, than the X-rated fare served up at Old Trafford on Wednesday, when Yorkshire lost by eight wickets with nine overs to spare as their Twenty20 campaign reached its lowest ebb.

Although the performance was better than it had been in Manchester, and indeed had to be better, the outcome was the same as Yorkshire slipped to another comprehensive defeat.

After scoring 132-7 after winning the toss, Rich Pyrah salvaging the innings with a career-best 42 from the No 7 position, the visitors were comfortably vanquished as Alex Hales (62) and David Hussey (28) led Nottinghamshire to a six-wicket win with 23 balls to spare.

In front of 10,148 spectators on a hot and sticky night, Yorkshire made three changes to the side that lost at Old Trafford.

Alex Lees, fresh from his 275 not out against Derbyshire in the County Championship, was handed his Twenty20 debut in place of Joe Sayers, who sustained a thigh injury in the Lancashire game.

Will Rhodes, the 18-year-old Nottingham-born all-rounder, was also given his Twenty20 debut in place of Adil Rashid, while Jack Brooks replaced fellow pace bowler Ryan Sidebottom.

Yorkshire so nearly made the worst possible start when Adam Lyth was dropped off the first ball of the match.

The left-hander flashed hard at a wide delivery from pace man Harry Gurney, bowling from the Radcliffe Road end, and was spilled at second slip by Samit Patel.

Nottinghamshire, without England contender James Taylor, who is guesting for Sussex against the Australians at Hove, were not delayed long in their quest for a breakthrough.

Patel provided it when he struck with the opening ball of the second over, the left-arm spinner bowling Lees round his legs as the left-hander made too much room attempting to sweep.

Patel pounced with the first delivery of his second over too, having Dan Hodgson superbly caught by a diving Graeme White at deep mid-wicket.

Yorkshire advanced to 38-2 at the end of the six-over powerplay – no more than a fair-to-middling effort.

Gary Ballance displayed prodigious power when he greeted the introduction of New Zealand pace bowler Ian Butler by plonking his first ball over mid-wicket and into the upper tier of the Fox Road Stand.

The shot was brilliantly caught by a chap in the crowd, who celebrated as though he had just held a catch to win the Ashes.

Lyth and Ballance added 46 for the third wicket in six overs before Ballance, on 30, tried one big hit too many, lofting the left-arm spin of White to Patel at long-off in front of the committee room.

Yorkshire slipped to 66-4 in the 11th over when Lyth was bowled for 23 by Jake Ball and then to 71-5 in the 12th when Jack Leaning was run-out following a mix-up with Rhodes.

Gurney yorked Rhodes in the closing stages before Pyrah struck some much-needed boundaries – the pick of them a six over long-off into the Radcliffe Road Stand off Butler.

Pyrah perished in the final over when he was splendidly caught on the run by Steven Mullaney at deep mid-wicket off Patel, who finished with 3-17.

Eight overs of spin from Patel and White yielded 4-34, while Yorkshire again paid for a poor period in the middle of their innings, managing only 17 runs in five overs from the start of the 10th over.

Nottinghamshire’s reply began disastrously when Michael Lumb and Patel both gave catching practice to Pyrah at cover.

Lumb picked out his former team-mate with a full toss from Lyth, while Patel found him with a drive off Brooks.

Nottinghamshire were only seven runs better off than Yorkshire at the end of the powerplay but Hales and Hussey showed their class to add 62 for the third wicket in seven overs.

Hales clubbed five sixes and four fours in his 38-ball stay, ended when he sliced Azeem Rafiq to long-off.

Hussey scored at around a run-a-ball before he was fourth out on 111 when he was bowled by Liam Plunkett.

Rikki Wessels and Chris Read completed the formalities with an unbroken stand of 22, Yorkshire concluding their campaign tomorrow when they face Leicestershire at Grace Road.