Shan Masood and Yorkshire CCC thwarted on rainy night at the Riverside

ON a night when Durham included in their team a man named Raine and another called Drissell, it was perhaps no surprise that the elements held sway in the soggy north-east.

Ben Raine and George Drissell bowled 31 of the 49 balls possible as Yorkshire reached 49-1 after being sent into bat on a muggy, overcast evening on which forecast rain arrived much earlier than expected.

Both sides gained one point for the no-result which, mathematically, kept Yorkshire in the hunt for a quarter-final place ahead of their final group game against Lancashire at Old Trafford on Friday.

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Realistically, they not only need to win that match but also hope for favours from elsewhere - and even then net run-rate could well go against them, Yorkshire’s having taken a hiding courtesy of a club record 144-run defeat against Derbyshire at Chesterfield last Sunday.

Shan Masood, the Yorkshire captain. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comShan Masood, the Yorkshire captain. Picture by Allan McKenzie/
Shan Masood, the Yorkshire captain. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

That result, followed by home defeats against Northamptonshire and Birmingham Bears, has made Yorkshire’s life extremely tough and, from their perspective, was in frustrating contrast to the six successive wins that preceded that run.

Once again, and although it is too soon to be writing a definitive obituary of their T20 season, Yorkshire's 20-over form has been pretty much what it is every year.

On their day, they are capable of beating anyone and performing strongly.

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The problem, as every Yorkshire supporter will know, is that such days have not been of sufficient frequency to actually get their hands on the trophy.

Adam Lyth's poor T20 tournament continued as he fell cheaply on a rainy night at the Riverside. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.comAdam Lyth's poor T20 tournament continued as he fell cheaply on a rainy night at the Riverside. Picture by John Clifton/
Adam Lyth's poor T20 tournament continued as he fell cheaply on a rainy night at the Riverside. Picture by John Clifton/

While we await the outcome of their challenge this year, which could further be impacted by points deductions due to the racism affair, this was a disappointing night for everyone concerned - not least those who braved horrendous delays on the A1 in both directions just to get to the ground.

A serious crash saw the road closed in North Yorkshire in mid-afternoon, and then another accident not far from Chester-le-Street impacted southbound traffic in the lead-up to the 6.30pm start.

Still, a decent number of supporters were present for the pre-match festivities, which included a pop band playing behind the Don Robson Pavilion.

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The temptation to take to the stage to show them how it's done was almost irresistible but, alas, there was a press box to reach.

After Alex Lees, the Durham captain, inserted his former county, they made a somewhat poor and ponderous start.

Adam Lyth lofted to mid-on in the second over - a wicket-maiden for seamer Raine - to continue a poor tournament for the left-hander, which has included only one score of note: an unbeaten 90 against Leicestershire at Headingley.

Shan Masood broke the shackles with a straight-driven four off Ashton Turner, the Australian off-spinner, but Yorkshire managed just 19 runs in the first five overs.

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They were indebted to three more boundaries from Masood in the following over, the last of the powerplay, the Pakistani going inside-out to loft Raine for six over long-off, then cutting and cover-driving him in the direction of the Don Robson Pavilion.

Masood followed up with a four through mid-wicket off Nathan Sowter, the Australian-born leg-spinner, and had made 35 out of the 49-1 when rain forced the players from the field after 25 minutes.

Batting one place higher than usual at No 3, with Will Fraine slotting in at No 4 in the only change to the side in place of James Wharton, Masood looked in good touch after an underwhelming competition by his high standards.

This was actually his highest score in 11 innings in this season’s Blast, eclipsing his 34 against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

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What a pity for him that the rain denied him the chance to go on and play a match-winning hand.

After play was eventually called off at 8.40pm, Masood remarked ruefully: “One way to look at it is that we have scored more points today than we have in the last three games.

"If there was a full game, we were probably looking at something around 150-160. That would have been a really good score on that wicket, I think.

"It’s a tricky one. It leaves us relying on other teams now. That’s never a great thing because you want your destiny to be in your own hands.

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"But, look, that’s the way it goes. Our job now is to play the Lancashire game like a quarter-final and hope that other results go our way and we can somehow get through the group stages.”

Commenting on his own T20 form, Masood said: “The biggest learning for me is that you still have to take the attacking options, still have to take the positive options, but too many times I’ve been caught in between whether to hold ship or keep going.

"Sometimes, you have platforms where it’s 80-1, or 80-2, after eight overs, and you can just have a free hand, but a lot of the time I’ve gone in when we’ve lost two early wickets, or it’s quite late in the innings, so that’s a learning for me, how I go about it.

“Everyone has areas of the game to improve. I must look to attack but also be more sensible with that attacking.”

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Masood, who missed the early part of the season due to international commitments, will shortly be on his travels again, having been called up for Pakistan’s Test tour of Sri Lanka next month.

It rules him out of the three County Championship fixtures in July, while there is a possibility that he may be involved in Pakistan’s Asia Cup campaign from late August.

"Hopefully, I won’t be away for long, and I’ll be back for the Royal London Cup (at the start of August),” he added. "As for what happens after that, we’ll see what happens in terms of selection.”