‘Say cheese’ as it’s all smiles again for Yorkshire CCC

THERE is a billboard on the M1 as you come towards Northampton that advertises something called “game-changing cheese”.

Perhaps Northants could have done with a piece of it or two as Yorkshire won this match by 29 runs.

After contrasting performances in their first two games, with Yorkshire thrashing Worcestershire in their opening match before Leicestershire thrashed them, the Jekyll and Hyde theme continued apace.

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For Northants, the defeat was of the sort to have them reaching for the Chardonnay as opposed to the Cheddar, the hosts stumbling to 157-8 in reply to Yorkshire’s 186-6 and no doubt in need of a stiff drink or several.

Joe Root cuts the ball away in the sunshine at Wantage Road. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.Joe Root cuts the ball away in the sunshine at Wantage Road. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Joe Root cuts the ball away in the sunshine at Wantage Road. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

The Yorkshire total was underpinned by some useful contributions.

Dawid Malan top-scored with 41 from 37 balls, Shan Masood hit 36 not out from 17, Joe Root 35 from 25, Dom Bess 28 from 24 and Jordan Thompson 20 from seven.

Ravi Bopara captured 4-34 for the hosts, sending Yorkshire from 67-0 in the ninth over to 100-4 in the 13th, but the visitors finished strongly, striking 68 from the final five overs.

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Bopara hit 35 from 21 in the chase, with two fours and two sixes, and Ricardo Vasconcelos 37 from 26, but Thompson took 3-18 in a gutsy comeback after his one over at Leicester had disappeared for 30.

On a glorious day, with around 4,000 spectators basking in sunshine, Yorkshire chose to bat first on a straw-coloured pitch.

Barely had the strains of Dancing Queen subsided when Root and Malan walked out to open the Yorkshire innings, with Malan’s regular partner, Adam Lyth, absent with an arm injury.

David Willey, the Northants captain and former Yorkshire all-rounder, opened the bowling from the David Capel end, his side top of the fledgling North Group after two wins from two. The left-armer was immediately on a good line and length in an opening over that cost four runs.

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Ben Sanderson, another former Yorkshire seamer, opened up from the Lynn Wilson Centre end, Root swivelling nicely on a pull to bring up the first boundary, then following up with another one through cow corner.

Root pulled his third boundary when Willey dropped short, the former England captain in splendid touch as the sun glinted off his bat.

Malan, content to play the supporting role, scored his first boundary from the penultimate ball of the fifth over, swinging George Scrimshaw behind square on the leg-side. At the end of the powerplay, Yorkshire were 55-0.

Their total had climbed to 67 when they lost two wickets to the first two balls of the ninth over, bowled by Bopara from the David Capel end.

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First, Root was brilliantly caught on the mid-wicket boundary by George Bartlett, who collected his pull shot and then threw the ball up to prevent himself from carrying it over the rope, completing the catch when he was safely back inside.

Bopara then bowled James Wharton through the gate, the 23-year-old having come into the side in place of Lyth in the only change to the XI that appeared in the opening two matches.

After Yorkshire reached 76-2 at halfway, Donovan Ferreira launched Bopara for successive sixes over mid-wicket before lofting him into the hands of his fellow South African Matthew Breetzke at long-off, leaving the visitors 89-3.

That became 100-4 when Bopara captured his fourth wicket when Malan - two balls after striking him for six over long-off - was bowled making room to hit through the offside.

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At 118-4 from 15 overs, the innings was in danger of falling away, but Shan Masood and Dom Bess pulled things round with a partnership of 64 from 37 deliveries, Bess contributing four boundaries before clubbing Scrimshaw to mid-off.

Masood hit Scrimshaw for a couple of sixes over midwicket, then Jordan Thompson swung Willey for a six over long-on and then over long-off, having been dropped in between off the same bowler by Bartlett at deep mid-wicket. Thompson fell to the final ball of the innings, caught by Saif Zaib at deep square-leg off Willey, his 299th T20 wicket.

Matty Revis landed the first blow in the chase, bowling Breetzke as he tried to pull with the score 37 in the fifth over.

Willey came and went cheaply, picking out Root at long-off off Bess, who then had Vasconcelos caught by Revis at deep mid-wicket.

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Thompson held a skier from Zaib off his own bowling, then had Sikandar Raza caught by Root at long-off, the Yorkshireman’s 100th T20 wicket.

A fine catch by Thompson, running in from deep-square off Dan Moriarty, got rid of the dangerous Bopara, leaving Northants 124-6 in the 16th, and Thompson claimed his third when Bartlett found Masood at cover.

Revis had Lewis McManus caught by Wharton at deep mid-wicket as Yorkshire finished the job.

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