Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire - Royal London Cup: Hard net work over the winter paying dividends for Matthew Waite

WERE there a “hero of the match” in the Royal London Cup, the gender-neutral terminology employed in The Hundred, the award would surely have gone to Yorkshire’s Matthew Waite for his performance against Warwickshire at York on Tuesday.

Having a go: Matthew Waite in action against Warwickshire at York. Picture by Will Palmer/SWpix.com

Waite played an heroic innings of 42 not out from 16 balls, striking four sixes and three fours, in a game which Yorkshire went on to win by 39 runs, the significance of it therefore speaking for itself.

Waite hit 30 of those runs off the last over of the innings, bowled by the young pace man Ethan Brookes, which went for 32 in total as he started it with a no-ball.

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It meant that a seemingly manageable total, from the visitors’ perspective, of 288-7 after 49 overs, on a fast-scoring Clifton Park ground, became trickier than it should have been, Waite then removing both opening batsmen, Rob Yates and Ed Pollock, to put the skids on the chase before Ben Coad and George Hill finished the job.

All-round effort: Matthew Waite, left, celebrates after taking Warwickshire's Rob Yates's wicket - caught by Gary Ballance for 11. Picture Bruce Rollinson

As Yorkshire look to follow-up with a win against Nottinghamshire today in the second and final county match this season at the York venue, one that would significantly enhance their hopes of reaching the knockout stages, Waite is hoping to build on this week’s excellent all-round performance.

The 25-year-old has always had something about him as a cricketer, whether with bat or ball in hand, but a succession of injuries have restricted him to just eight first-class and 34 white-ball appearances since his first-team debut in 2014. Batting at No 8 on Tuesday, though, and opening the bowling alongside Coad, he showed what a handy cricketer he is, with his muscular hitting and whole-hearted bowling.

He says that he worked on that hitting during the winter, with the ability to thump quick runs now such a vital part of the lower-order armoury, and that he was delighted to make a contribution.

“That’s what I worked on all winter, basically, just going in from ball one and trying to clear the ropes, and it’s pleasing that it came off,” said Waite.

Continuity: Yorkshire coach Rich Pyrah. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“Where I bat down the order, that’s what you’ve got to do now; you’ve got to come in and clear the ropes, and I practised a lot in the nets and also against a bowling machine, just hitting over and over again.

“I used to be good against spin at hitting sixes and not very much against seam, so I worked hard in particular on hitting against seam.

“I worked on trying to snap my back hip through when I hit the ball, which is what players like Liam Livingstone do so well, and hopefully I can keep contributing to the team.”

Waite, 25, starred in an impressive all-round performance from Yorkshire, which included half-centuries from Jonny Tattersall, George Hill and Gary Ballance, along with 42 from the burgeoning young wicketkeeper Harry Duke.

There are clearly some promising young players coming through the ranks, players who could yet take Yorkshire deep in the tournament in the absence of pretty much an entire first XI due to The Hundred/international cricket.

“There’s a lot of talent in the changing room,” said Waite. “We’re trying to make this competition about learning all the time, and that’s how we’re going to get better because the talent is definitely there and it’s just match awareness and little things like that that’s going to make us even better.

“But we’re not going to get too high about winning or too low when we lose, and now it’s on to another game against a good side in Notts.

“We’re in the mix in this competition and we’ve got a talented side, a young side, but we’re trying not to get ahead of ourselves and just concentrating on trying to improve.”

Yorkshire will be without the South African fast bowler Duanne Olivier after he suffered a recurrence of the back pain which sidelined him for a month prior to Tuesday’s fixture.

Olivier took 1-60 from his nine overs against Warwickshire, capturing the important wicket of Jacob Bethell, the 17-year-old left-hander, who top-scored with 66 to threaten an unlikely heist, batting with the class and composure of a man twice his age.

Rich Pyrah, the acting Yorkshire coach, has favoured a policy of continuity of selection during this tournament, which has seen Yorkshire win two, lose two and have one no-result.

They will be hoping to beat a dodgy weather forecast today, with rain and thunderstorms predicted, before they round off the group stage with matches against Derbyshire at Chesterfield on Sunday and against Glamorgan at Cardiff on Thursday.

Yorks from): Ballance (captain), Birkhead, Coad, Duke, Fraine, Hill, Luxton, Patterson, Pillans, Revis, Shutt, Sullivan H, Sullivan J, Tattersall, Waite.