WHEN you put 223 runs on the board batting first in a T20 game, you can normally “start the car” in the words of a certain television commentator.
But when Yorkshire eventually revved up the team coach that took them home from Trent Bridge, they were left to wonder how on earth they had lost a match that had looked all wrapped up at the halfway stage.
Yorkshire’s score of 223-5 after being sent into bat was their third-highest in the history of the T20 format.
But it was shot down by an even more sensational batting performance from Notts, who won by five wickets with five balls to spare on the back of a brilliant innings by Alex Hales.
The England one-day opener scored 101 from 47 balls with 14 fours and four sixes – his second T20 century after an innings of 116 not out against Sri Lanka at Chittagong in 2014.
It was the joint second-highest individual innings against Yorkshire in T20 alongside Stuart Law’s 101 for Lancashire at Old Trafford in 2005, and behind only Darren Maddy’s 111 for Leicestershire at Headingley in 2004.
We just didn’t quite get it right with the ball and were a little bit predictable; we didn’t really bowl any bouncers or slower balls, but you’ve got to take your hat off to Alex Hales, who played outstandingly.Yorkshire first-team coach, Andrew Gale
Before one removes one’s statistical hat, which has seen plenty of action lately after Ross Whiteley’s six sixes in an over at Headingley last week, it was also the second-highest successful run-chase in the history of T20 in England behind Sussex’s feat in knocking off 226 against Essex at Chelmsford in 2014.
There have been only three higher successful T20 chases anywhere in the world, and it left Yorkshire first team coach Andrew Gale admitting that it was “a lesson learned”.
“At the halfway stage, I thought we were outstanding, and to get 220-odd on the board should have been a match-winning total,” he said.
“But fair play to Notts; we bowled very poorly in their batting powerplay and were always up against it when they reached 91-1 in those first six overs.
“We just didn’t quite get it right with the ball and were a little bit predictable; we didn’t really bowl any bouncers or slower balls, but you’ve got to take your hat off to Alex Hales, who played outstandingly.
“It’s not all doom and gloom, though, and we need to move on quickly.”
Once the dust has settled on a remarkable match, watched by 8,363 spectators on a generally sunny afternoon, Yorkshire could do worse than reflect on two things: namely, that they remain top of the North Group on the back of some fine performances in their first nine matches, and that they have now passed 220 with the bat on three occasions.
Their latest foray beyond that figure highlighted the confidence running through the top-order, with the runs spread around as Adam Lyth hit 59 from 30 balls, Shaun Marsh 47 from 28, Tom Kohler-Cadmore 37 from 18, Peter Handscomb 31 from 17 and Jack Leaning an undefeated 28 from 16.
Yorkshire’s own batting powerplay was also turbo-charged stuff, Lyth and Kohler-Cadmore propelling them to 83-0 at the end of six overs before their stand ended with the first ball of the seventh over, Kohler-Cadmore skying Steven Mullaney to mid-off.
There were three sixes in Kohler-Cadmore’s highest innings for the club to date, while Handscomb also made his highest T20 score of the season on his final appearance.
Once again, Lyth caught the eye as he recorded his third half-century in this year’s competition, reached from 26 balls with eight fours and a six.
Yorkshire also flourished despite only two runs this time from David Willey, who had smashed 322 of them in six innings going into the game.
Willey was caught at long-on off Samit Patel, whose figures of 3-29 from four overs spoke for themselves. Mullaney was also tidy, conceding 33 from four, but Yorkshire’s batting was brutal at times, 22 fours and 10 sixes flowing from their flashing blades.
Hales, however, does a different type of brutal.
The tall right-hander hammered four fours and a six in Willey’s second over before opening partner Riki Wessels crashed three fours and a six in Tim Bresnan’s second over, which left the hosts 65-0 from four overs and Willey nursing figures of 0-31 from two and Bresnan 0-34 from two.
Last Wednesday, Bresnan remarkably began with two maidens in the game against Durham at Headingley.
Such are the vicissitudes of T20 cricket.
Willey bounced back by running out Tom Moores with a direct hit from the boundary before having Hales brilliantly held by a leaping Lyth at long-on and Dan Christian caught behind.
Brendan Taylor chipped in with 41 from 26 but Steve Patterson dragged things back, conceding only five runs from the 17th over, which left Notts wanting 35 from the last 18 balls.
However, Christian smashed Willey for three successive sixes at the start of the 18th over to effectively settle matters.