Yorkshire v Middlesex: Pyrah’s milestone reached with rare Yorkshire victory

AND now for something completely unexpected...
Iain Wardlaw is congratulated on taking a wicket.Iain Wardlaw is congratulated on taking a wicket.
Iain Wardlaw is congratulated on taking a wicket.

Yorkshire won a game of YB40.

Not just won it, mark you, but won it comfortably. It was the cricketing equivalent of sitting with their feet up and puffing contentedly on a thick cigar.

When play was called off at 7pm due to rain, Yorkshire were 81-0 chasing a revised target of 197 from 35 overs.

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Middlesex had scored 217-8 from their 40 overs after being sent into bat and a brief shower, when Yorkshire had reached 54-0 off 13 overs, caused five overs to be lost from the home side’s innings and an adjustment to their target under Duckworth-Lewis calculations.

As so often happens when D/L becomes involved, one team is helped and the other hindered.

In this case it was Yorkshire who were hampered as their required rate rose from 6.07 runs per over to 6.50, an inconvenience that nevertheless made not the slightest jot of difference as they easily proceeded to the rarity of a one-day win. Just how rare can be gauged by the fact that Yorkshire had won only one and lost six of their seven games going into this match, a sequence that had ruined any hope of reaching the semi-finals. Their policy of fielding weakened teams to enable key players to rest for the County Championship had not assisted their aspirations but nor had the collective inadequacy of players with sufficient experience to suggest that better results might have been fairly expected.

It was the senior players who stood up yesterday as Adam Lyth and Andrew Gale, with unbeaten innings of 38 and 34 respectively, built on the earlier good work of Rich Pyrah (3-33) and Iain Wardlaw (3-39), the latter returning career-best one-day figures.

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With Yorkshire’s solitary victory until this point having come against the Unicorns, a recreational composite of has-beens and wannabees, this was a welcome win for the hosts over county opposition – one achieved by 17 runs under the D/L method.

There was no suggestion of the simplicity with which Yorkshire would prevail when Middlesex began in blistering fashion.

After four overs, the scoreboard read 40-0, and Paul Stirling, the 22-year-old Irishman, had 32 of them – including 18 clubbed off 15-year-old Matthew Fisher’s opening over, comprising three fours and a six.

But when a splendid yorker from Wardlaw accounted for Stirling, the visitors lost their way and slumped to 69-4 inside nine overs, Joe Denly and Sam Robson chopping on and Dawid Malan edging behind.

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Pyrah, playing his 100th List A game, had Neil Dexter held at mid-off by Adil Rashid, but not before the fielder had juggled a simple catch.

Gareth Berg, who top-scored with 43, and Adam Rossington (42), added 61 in 12 overs before Rossington patted back a return catch to Lyth. Pyrah bowled Berg and then yorked Toby Roland-Jones as Middlesex fell short of a competitive score, this defeat effectively ending their own interest in the tournament.