Yorkshire CCC v Birmingham Bears: Vikings need to rediscover their groove to keep Vitality T20 Blast hopes alive
It has been a curious Blast campaign for Yorkshire so far.
The six-match winning sequence which showed Yorkshire at their best, as confidence flowed through the side after their stuttering start, was followed by two heavy drubbings that were wholly unexpected.
They have three group fixtures remaining, beginning with Thursday’s game against Birmingham Bears at Headingley, which is followed by a trip to face Durham at Chester-le-Street the following day and a Roses match at Old Trafford on Friday week.
For Ottis Gibson, the Yorkshire head coach, it is naturally important that the mini-slump is halted as soon as possible and that his players get back to doing the good things they were doing just a short time ago.
It is certainly by no means a doom-and-gloom scenario; the side remain well-placed to seal a top-four spot that would probably be achieved with two more wins.
“It’s just the way that sport works sometimes,” said Gibson.
“After a difficult start, we’d felt as though we’d turned a corner. We won six Blast games in a row and we also won a four-day game (against Derbyshire at Chesterfield).
“Sometimes, you take your eye off the ball and something like this can happen, so we have to reset and get back to playing the sort of cricket we know we can play.
“My job is to get the team playing the sort of cricket we were playing two weeks ago, and we’ve certainly got a lot of very good players in our dressing room.”
So, why the two poor results seemingly from nowhere?
“Again, that’s the nature of sport,” added Gibson. “It’s important that when you’re playing really well that you don’t take things for granted and don’t become complacent, and that’s something that I have to look at myself and see whether we have become complacent.
“I know for sure we’re still doing the same things in terms of preparation for games and stuff like that, but the results will show that in the last two games we got bowled out in 11 overs at Chesterfield and 15 overs at Headingley (against Northants).
“To be four or five wickets down in the powerplay is unacceptable; we’re not going to win many games like that, but we’ve not played that type of cricket before this and we have to rectify that as quickly as possible.”
The last two matches have shown that there are no poor teams these days in T20, and that the standard is rising, or at least the overall floor.
Derbyshire went into the game at Chesterfield third-bottom and Northamptonshire into the fixture at Headingley second-bottom, only to upset the applecart.
Every side has batsmen capable of clearing the rope, bowlers capable of magical spells and excellent, athletic fielders, or so it seems.
“There are some very good teams in this division,” said Gibson.
“Northants had not had the best campaign, but they’ve got some very good campaigners when it comes to the new-ball, for example.
“David Willey knows what he’s doing, Ben Sanderson, and so on. They’ve shown that in the Blast this year.
“There are no bad teams in T20 cricket in this country, that is for sure.”
Gibson continued: “Of course, we’re disappointed with the last two games. We haven’t played well; we know that
“The good thing is that when we had our golden patch and won those six games on the trot, the 12 points that we gained has put us right in the mix.
“We’ve just got to try and find the groove that we had in those six games and try and get back to that.
“There’s still ample time for us to sort the situation out and achieve our goal of qualifying for the quarter-finals.”