Yorkshire Carnegie v Lancashire Lightning: Roses joy as Rashid and Rafiq combine for victory

YORKSHIRE’s showpiece county match of the season went ahead despite predictions of torrential rain.

The home side proved more reliable than the weathermen, chalking up an 11-run victory over arch-rivals Lancashire.

Before a bumper crowd of 13,000, which made for a lively atmosphere beneath sombre skies, Yorkshire completed a quickfire Roses double following their two-wicket win at Old Trafford the previous Friday.

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This success was equally hard-fought.

Sent into bat, Yorkshire made 178-4, their highest total in 16 Twenty20 meetings against the old enemy.

Andrew Gale led the way with a fine innings of 60 from 46 balls with six fours and a six, his second half-century in this year’s tournament.

Adam Lyth chipped in with 45 from 33 balls, Jonny Bairstow 32 from 19 and Gary Ballance 25 not out from 15.

Lancashire floundered in the face of spinners Adil Rashid (4-26) and Azeem Rafiq (2-29), the latter following his match-winning performance in Manchester with another good display.

According to the weather forecasts, which only just stopped short of predicting Armageddon, there seemed little prospect of this game going ahead.

But those who disregarded the doom merchants were rewarded with an entertaining contest in which Yorkshire always seemed to have the upper hand.

The hosts were given a flying start by Gale and Bairstow, who took advantage of the fielding restrictions during the first six overs of power play to raise 63 runs with some stylish stroke play.

Gale drilled down the ground with trademark power and placement, while Bairstow was also strong through the arc and off his pads.

Bairstow brought the crowd to life by hitting Tom Smith for 4, 4, 6 during the second over – a four through square-leg, a four through mid-on and a huge six over backward square-leg into the North East Stand, which sent spectators scurrying for cover as surely as a bomb warning.

Bairstow looked primed for a big score but fell with the total on 69 in the eighth over, lbw trying to reverse-sweep left-arm spinner Gary Keedy.

Gale hit fellow spinner Stephen Parry over mid-wicket for six en route to a 35-ball half-century – his 11th 50 in his 56th Twenty20 innings, proving what a valuable player he is in this form of the game.

Lyth got in on the sixes act when he struck Luke Procter high over long-on before Gale’s innings ended in tame fashion when he sliced Smith to Stephen Moore at cover.

Lyth and Ballance kept the scoreboard ticking over before Lyth departed in the penultimate over, bowled by the excellent Sajid Mahmood, who returned 1-20 from four overs.

Ajmal Shahzad was caught behind in the final over as Yorkshire eclipsed their previous best against Lancashire of 170-2 at Headingley in 2004.

The reply began encouragingly for the visitors when Smith struck Rashid for a big straight six in the opening over. He repeated the feat in the leg-spinner’s second over before Lancashire were rocked by the loss of two quick wickets.

Fellow opener Moore was run-out by a direct hit from Joe Root at long-on after Smith looked for a second run off Rashid.

Rashid got rid of Smith with a good low return catch as Lancashire slipped to 27-2 in the third over.

Steven Croft and Karl Brown hoisted the score to 65 before Rafiq bowled Croft with his first ball from the Rugby Stand end.

The off-spinner struck again with his fifth ball when Mahmood was pinned lbw.

Lancashire were still in the hunt at 118-4 in the 15th over only for Rashid to take three wickets in five deliveries. Gareth Cross was lbw, Brown caught at long-off and Procter also lbw as Yorkshire turned the screw.

The visitors fell to 123-8 when Kyle Hogg went lbw to Shahzad and to 137-9 when Parry was bowled by Sidebottom.

There seemed no way back from there but Lancashire were given unexpected hope when the penultimate over of the innings, bowled by Rich Pyrah, disappeared for 24. Jordan Clark clubbed 22 of them – including a straight six and a six over mid-wicket, the latter a no-ball that counted for eight runs.

It left Lancashire needing 12 off Sidebottom’s final over but Clark was run out off the first ball when Keedy tried to run a quick single to give him the strike.

Clark top-scored with 38 from 18 balls – a valiant effort in a losing cause as Yorkshire leapfrogged their opponents to go fourth in the North Division.