Yorkshire hopes fade after being struck by Lightning

A POWER cut moments before the match knocked out the floodlights and forced Lancashire to send for an electrician.

Yorkshire's Gary Ballance

The repairman was called Jimmy Anderson, and it was not the first time that someone of that name had lit up Old Trafford.

How Yorkshire must have wished that Anderson the sparky had not proved as effective as Anderson the fast bowler, and that the problems with the power could have led to the fixture being abandoned.

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As it was, an eight-wicket defeat to their Roses rivals – their fifth reverse in eight group games – saw the lights go out on Yorkshire’s Twenty20 hopes for another year.

Although Yorkshire were not mathematically eliminated by last night’s result, which saw Lancashire prevail with nine overs to spare, they will be today if Durham beat Leicestershire at Chester-le-Street.

The White Rose are bottom of the North Division and have two games left to restore some pride, starting with tomorrow’s trip to Nottinghamshire before Sunday’s visit to Leicestershire.

After winning the toss on a muggy evening, Yorkshire scored 124-8, Adam Lyth making 32, Gary Ballance 28 and Rich Pyrah an unbeaten 20.

Before a 12,000 crowd, Lancashire – or the ‘Lightning’ as they are known in one-day cricket – breezed home with a batting display that was the equivalent of hitting Yorkshire with 50,000 volts, Stephen Moore crashing 66 from 35 balls to send the Red Rose back to the top of the table.

On a night when Yorkshire made two changes to the side that lost to Nottinghamshire on Sunday, with Jack Leaning replacing Andrew Hodd and Iain Wardlaw coming in for Jack Brooks, they lost their first wicket to the opening ball of the fourth over when Joe Sayers struck Tom Smith to point.

Sayers seemed to be surprised by the bounce generated by the medium pacer as he steered the ball to Simon Kerrigan.

Yorkshire fell to 20-2 in the fifth over when Hodgson skied New Zealand pace bowler Mitchell McClenaghan to Kerrigan at wide mid-off, the visitors managing just 23 runs in the six overs of powerplay.

Lyth and Ballance were just starting to recover the position at 53-2 in the 10th over when Lyth played a disappointing shot, paddling Smith straight to Ashwell Prince at short fine-leg.

Before that, Lyth had looked in excellent touch, one straight six off Steven Croft thudding into the black sightscreen in front of the new players/media stand opposite the pavilion.

Yorkshire fell to 57-4 in the 11th over when Leaning, the 19-year-old making his Twenty20 debut, reached for a wide ball from left-arm spinner Kerrigan and dragged into his stumps.

It was another disappointing dismissal from Yorkshire’s perspective, and it seemed cruelly appropriate that a Monty Python song – “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” – accompanied Leaning as he returned to the dug-out.

Adil Rashid thumped a couple of sixes before running himself out in calamitous style, hesitating over a single when he played Kerrigan to Smith at point.

Ballance played one or two handsome strokes before he was sixth out on 96, brilliantly caught by Croft diving forward at long-on off the off-spinner Arron Lilley.

Liam Plunkett miscued McClenaghan to Croft at mid-off and Azeem Rafiq was run-out attempting a bye in the final over.

Pyrah played a good hand at the end, but Yorkshire’s total was 25 runs short of the average first innings score on this ground.

With the batsmen having underperformed, a recurring problem for Yorkshire in this year’s tournament, the bowlers were always under the cosh.

They were even more up against it when Lancashire launched a blistering assault in the powerplay.

After Ryan Sidebottom conceded just two runs from the first over, the home side savaged 65 off the next five to put the issue beyond doubt.

Moore, the 32-year-old South African-born opener, was the prime mover, scoring 37 of the first 39 runs, including three fours from Pyrah’s opening over.

Plunkett and Rashid each conceded 17 runs off an over as boundaries flowed like vintage wine, and there was simply no hiding place for the visiting players.

Amid the carnage, Rafiq’s figures of 2-14 from two overs stood out like a burp in polite company, the off-spinner having Smith stumped for 42 off 22 balls to end an opening stand of 88 from 46 deliveries.

Two balls later, Rafiq had Prince majestically caught one-handed by a flying Lyth at extra cover, the sort of catch that deserved to be in a winning cause rather than a losing one.

After Moore went to his half-century from 27 balls, he won the match with a straight six off Leaning – a fitting end to a game that Yorkshire will want to forget in a hurry.