Yorkshire CCC could play ‘home’ Vitality Blast T20 quarter-final at Durham

YORKSHIRE are exploring their options as to where their home T20 quarter-final might be played.

Joe Root returns to the Yorkshire Vikings T20 line-up for Saturday's Roses clash against Lancashire Lightning. Picture: Tony Johnson

The club secured a top-two finish in the North Group – and a home tie in the last eight – courtesy of Worcestershire’s defeat to Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston last night.

Yorkshire who play their final group game against Lancashire at Old Trafford this evening, had already qualified for the knockout stages for the first time since 2016. But with their Headingley base unavailable due to the quarter-finals clashing with the third Test between England and India in the last week of August, it means that a different venue will have to be found – or else the game switched to their opponents’ ground.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

There would be difficulties in staging the match at Scarborough or York, the two outgrounds used by Yorkshire, due to the demands of television and the need for floodlights.

MISSING IN ACTION: Yorkshire's Lockie Ferguson remains injured on the sidelines. Picture: Tony Johnson

It might be that the tie is played at a neutral location – most likely Durham’s Chester-le-Street headquarters.

Although second-placed Yorkshire could yet be overtaken on points, they are guaranteed to finish second as the group is now being decided on an “average points per completed match” basis, after Derbyshire were forced to cancel their final two matches due to 20 players missing through injury or having to self-isolate because of Covid.

Yorkshire’s final group game should have been at Derby tomorrow, with the England and Wales Cricket Board decreeing that the hosts are presently unable to field a team of sufficient strength to maintain the competition’s integrity.

Yorkshire are boosted this evening by the return of Joe Root, who is not part of England’s T20 squad.

The Test captain has played in three of the club’s group fixtures in and around his other international commitments, although Yorkshire remain without the New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson due to the side injury that ruled him out of their previous group game at leaders Nottinghamshire.

Ferguson will be available for the quarter-final after it was agreed that he would stay on following his stint with Manchester Originals in The Hundred, which begins next week.

The 30-year-old has played a key role in Yorkshire reaching the quarter-finals and is their leading wicket-taker with 14 at an average of 19 and an economy rate of seven.

Ferguson took Yorkshire’s first T20 hat-trick on his last outing – against Lancashire at Headingley earlier this month, when the hosts won by nine runs.

He was assisted by two catches from stand-in captain Adam Lyth, who is looking forward to the second part of the Roses double-header.

“I don’t know what it is about this fixture, it’s always a cracking game whether it’s at Headingley or at Old Trafford,” he said.

“It’s always very, very close.

“A couple of weeks ago at Headingley, with them needing 20 off the last over, you wouldn’t expect it to go down to the wire, but it did.

“We got on the right end of the result that time and would love to do the same at Old Trafford,” he added.

Will Fraine returns to the squad following a side injury, while Mark Stoneman plays the final match of his loan spell from Surrey.

Yorkshire (from): Ballance, Bess, Brook, Coad, Duke, Fisher, Fraine, Hill, Lyth (captain), Poysden, Root, Stoneman, Thompson, Waite.