Yorkshire Vikings climb off bottom of T20 table after Headingley win

LIFE goes on.

Yorkshire's David Willey takes his first wicket. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
Yorkshire's David Willey takes his first wicket. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

Four days after the night before, Headingley staged its first game of cricket since a certain Ben Stokes put Australia to the sword.

The contrast in importance and occasion could not have been greater.

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After the “Miracle of Headingley 2019”, the venue came back down to earth with a “dead” contest in the T20 Blast.

Yorkshire's Will Fraine celebrates with Tim Bresnan, after catching Northamptonshire's Dwaine Pretorius, off the bowling of David Willey. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

Nevertheless, and despite the fact that neither Yorkshire nor Northamptonshire could reach the knockout stages, the sides served up an entertaining match which Yorkshire won comfortably by 80 runs.

After choosing to bat, the hosts scored 187-7, openers Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Adam Lyth each striking half-centuries and Harry Brook contributing 38.

David Willey then took 4-18 against his former club as Northamptonshire were dismissed for 107, Tom Sole top-scoring with 41 not out in a reply that was a masterclass in how not to chase a target.

The result lifted Yorkshire off the bottom of the North Group and up four places to fifth ahead of today’s final group game against Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston.

Before a crowd of around 5,000, the weather was as pleasant as when Stokes steered England to a one-wicket win that kept the Ashes alive, albeit somewhat cooler on a breezy, sun-soaked evening with the Bank Holiday heatwave a fading memory.

The new main stand was well populated again, with people continuing to gravitate to its vertiginous upper tier like moths to a flame, and the blue skies were streaked with fluffy white clouds and the trails of aircraft bound for nearby Leeds-Bradford airport before darkness fell.

It was a shame for those who long ago bought tickets that there was nothing but pride resting on the fixture, but Yorkshire’s determination was obvious once play began.

They do not want to finish bottom of any division in any form of cricket; the avoidance of embarrassment is always an additional motivation.

That Yorkshire find themselves in such straits is remarkable given some of the quality at their disposal.

Kohler-Cadmore and Lyth again got them off to a flyer, sharing 88 before Lyth picked out deep cover in the 11th over, one ball after reaching his fifty from 27 deliveries.

Lyth had been dropped on 44 by Rob Keogh at long-on off left-arm spinner Graeme White, while Kohler-Cadmore was spilled on nine by Dwaine Pretorious off his own bowling, a regulation chance to his right.

On a true surface, Kohler-Cadmore and Lyth are always particularly fearsome, and both peppered the boundary to productive effect. One pull from Kohler-Cadmore off Faheem Ashraf sailed into the West Stand and was well held by a gentleman wearing a white shirt, who would thus have been perfectly qualified to give some of the Northamptonshire fielders some catching advice.

There was no catching it, however, when Kohler-Cadmore struck the six that brought up his fifty from 41 balls, Keogh launched to almost aircraft-height away over mid-wicket towards the old pavilion.

But, just like Lyth, Kohler-Cadmore fell one ball after bringing up his milestone, picking out deep-backward square-leg off White, who claimed 2-18.

Willey skied to long-off but Brook hit three sixes in a 16-ball stay, including an enormous straight hit off Keogh into the upper reaches of the new stand.

Brook perished four overs out, caught at deep mid-wicket, and Jonny Tattersall to a flying catch just around the corner. Tim Bresnan picked out long-on and Jack Leaning deep backward-square in the final over, but Yorkshire hit 73 from the last six to post a threatening total.

Richard Levi reduced Northamptonshire’s target by 19 off the first over, delivered by Lyth, the powerful South African striking him for three fours and a six.

But Levi launched the first ball of the second over, bowled by Willey, straight to mid-wicket, the start of a wicket-maiden which Bresnan followed by bowling Adam Rossington, who chopped on a pull.

Josh Cobb was caught at deep square-leg, Pretorious at point, Alex Wakely at deep square-leg and Faheem at mid-wicket as Willey and Bresnan reduced the visitors to a pathetic 45-6.

Keshav Maharaj bowled Keogh before fellow spinner Jack Shutt had White and Nathan Buck held straight by Brook, who claimed four catches and so nearly a fifth with a brilliant diving effort.

Lyth nipped in with the final wicket, inducing an edge from Blessing Muzarabani.