Yorkshire reprise losing opening after indifferent batting display

LAST year, Yorkshire lost their opening game in the Twenty20 Cup by two runs against Durham at Headingley.

Andrew Gale

It was their only defeat in the group stages as they went on to finish top of the North Section before almost winning the final in Cardiff.

It is about the only crumb of comfort one can offer their supporters after Yorkshire lost their opening fixture this time too.

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Once again it was a desperately close affair, Derbyshire winning by two wickets with three balls to spare on a night when the momentum swung this way and that.

Without David Miller, the South African batsman who was the competition’s second-highest run-scorer last season, Yorkshire are missing one of the most explosive strikers in the game’s shortest form.

It is one of the reasons they face such a challenge to replicate last year’s success, although that was no excuse for the batting display that cost them dear here.

Yorkshire lost because they scored only 119-8 after being sent into bat, their innings characterised by poor shot selection, faulty timing, wonky communication and indifferent running.

It left their bowlers with too much to do, and although Jack Brooks did his best to drag things back with a career-best 4-21, his four wickets arriving in the space of nine balls, Derbyshire’s ninth-wicket pair of Jonathan Clare and Tim Groenewald were equal to the task of scoring 28 from the 
final three overs.

On a breezy evening of watery sunshine, with the forecast rain staying away, the tone was set in the first four overs of the Yorkshire innings.

By then the home side were 
27-3, Albie Morkel having had openers Andrew Gale and Adam Lyth caught behind the wicket for five runs apiece and Dan Redfern having run out Dan Hodgson, the No 3.

Hodgson’s dismissal summed up the night.

The young man had just clubbed two fours and a six when he was beaten by a direct hit at the non-striker’s end after Jonny Bairstow pushed Morkel out to point.

Bairstow, playing his first game since the Headingley Test exactly one month earlier, looked out of sorts.

He was lucky to survive a Chinese cut for two off the pace bowler Mark Footitt and fell to a poor shot when he pulled the same bowler to Groenewald at long-leg after scoring 12.

In front of a 3,700 crowd, Yorkshire slipped to 54-5 in the 10th over when Adil Rashid played another poor shot, guiding a ball from Footitt into the wicketkeeper’s hands.

Only six boundaries were scored in the first 10 overs as Yorkshire failed to establish any sort of platform.

But for Gary Ballance, the innings might have descended into total embarrassment.

The 23-year-old left-hander, back from England duty in the Twenty20 series against New Zealand, alleviated the pressure by dancing down the track to loft off-spinner Wes Durston for four, the ball bisecting the fielders at deep mid-on and deep mid-wicket.

Durston was miserly, conceding only 19 runs from his four overs, while former Yorkshire left-arm spinner David Wainwright was similarly parsimonious.

Wainwright leaked only 22 from his four overs and picked up the wicket of Rich Pyrah, bowled for seven to leave Yorkshire 82-6.

After Liam Plunkett was run-out, Ballance provided a late flourish to the innings when he clipped Redfern for six over square-leg and lofted Footitt for four.

He finally fell for 44, caught on the cover boundary by Redfern off Footitt to leave Yorkshire 105-8 in the penultimate over.

Only four Yorkshire players reached double figures and the highest stand of the innings was the 28 for the sixth wicket added by Ballance and Pyrah.

Brooks’s evening began badly when he conceded 15 runs off his second over, including a flat six by Chesney Hughes over cover into the West Stand.

Hughes, who scored 270 on this ground when the sides met in the County Championship earlier this year, looked in good touch again and gave the innings a solid start by adding 40 in seven overs with Durston.

Pyrah disturbed Derbyshire’s progress by having Durston caught at short gully and then had Shivnarine Chanderpaul caught behind for five.

At 62-2 in the ninth over, though, the visitors were coasting, before a rejuvenated Brooks returned to bowl.

The pace bowler produced a stunning spell to transform the complexion of the match to such an extent that Yorkshire should have won.

The man affectionately known as the ‘Headband Warrior’ struck with his second ball back from the Kirkstall Lane end when he bowled Hughes off an inside edge.

Hughes hit 36 from 33 balls with five fours and a six and, four balls later, he was followed back to the pavilion by Madsen, who went caught behind.

Brooks struck again with the first ball of his third over when Redfern was caught at point and, three balls later, Tom Poynton was held at deep mid-wicket.

Azeem Rafiq struck with his first delivery when Morkel holed out to long-on, which left Derbyshire 70-7 in the 13th over.

At that stage it was difficult to see Yorkshire losing – as it still was when Wainwright was eighth out at 92, lbw to Rafiq.

But Clare, the Burnley-born pace bowler whose previous best Twenty20 score was 18, made an unbeaten 35 and Groenewald an unbeaten seven as Yorkshire paid a heavy price for their batting display.