Worcestershire’s 350-6 after being sent into bat beat the previous best at Headingley of 349-7 by Yorkshire against Derbyshire last year.
It was the second-highest one-day score against Yorkshire on any ground, behind Surrey’s 375-4 at Scarborough in 1994, and it proved fractionally too much for the hosts, who made a valiant 346-9 to lose by four runs.
Cheteshwar Pujara hit 101 and Tom Kohler-Cadmore 89, the match turning into a nail-biter towards the end as Steve Patterson thumped four boundaries in the 48th over before Andrew Hodd, needing to score 12 off the last two balls, hammered a straight six off pace bowler Charlie Morris before having to settle for a single off the last delivery.
“We were very disappointed in the end,” said Yorkshire captain Patterson. “I thought it was a tremendous effort from the unit to get as close as we did, and it probably flattered us a bit really in terms of the way we played.
“The first half was really quite below-par from what we’re capable of, both in the execution of our bowling and our fielding and general manner really.
“To go for 122, or something, off the last 10 overs is just not good enough for the quality we’ve got, and although it was a great effort at the end, we didn’t deserve to win after that first half.”
Beneath overcast skies which later gave way to pleasant sunshine, Patterson won his third straight toss as he continues to deputise for club captain Gary Ballance.
Ballance has not featured in the competition so far due to unspecified “personal reasons” but has now returned to training, and he will be assessed ahead of Friday’s One-Day Cup match against Notts at Headingley.
Yesterday, it looked as if it might be a good toss to win on the cloudy morning, but, after losing Daryl Mitchell lbw to Ben Coad in the fifth over, Worcestershire showed what a good pitch it was.
Joe Clarke and former Yorkshire batsman Travis Head added 108 for the second-wicket in 17 overs, both striking the ball with fury and flair.
It took a stroke of luck to break their stand, Adil Rashid getting a fingertip on to the ball at the bowler’s end to divert it on to the stumps when Head lashed back a straight drive, Clarke short of his ground after striking 61 from 64 balls.
After rapid cameos from Tom Fell and Brett D’Oliveira, the latter brilliantly caught on the point boundary by a leaping Kohler-Cadmore off Patterson, Head’s fine innings ended on 77 when he was caught and bowled by Rashid, having faced 94 balls and hit six fours and a six.
It was not the happiest of days for Rashid, whose return of 2-86 from 10 overs was his most expensive one-day analysis, with only Tim Bresnan (1-87 against Somerset at Taunton in 2005) having conceded more for Yorkshire in a one-day game.
Ross Whiteley and Ben Cox blazed 110 for the sixth wicket inside 11 overs to ensure that Yorkshire would have to beat their highest one-day chase – 339-4 against Durham last year.
Whiteley often enjoys himself against Yorkshire – last year he hit spinner Karl Carver for six sixes in an over in a T20 match at Headingley – and the Sheffield-born left-hander this time scored an unbeaten 66 from 41 balls, with nine fours and two sixes. Cox struck 50 from 33, Patterson (2-54) the pick of the bowlers.
As ever, Yorkshire’s innings was given a scintillating start by Kohler-Cadmore and Adam Lyth, who raised 72 for the first wicket in 12 overs before Lyth was caught behind.
It looked as if Kohler-Cadmore was going to register his second hundred in this year’s competition, but when he was caught at long-on off leg-spinner D’Oliveira, who then had the promoted James Wainman caught behind two balls later, Yorkshire were suddenly 173-3 in the 30th.
Harry Brook sliced to third man and Jack Leaning was caught at deep mid-wicket, but Pujara advanced to a 92-ball century – his 11th in List A cricket.
He finally holed out on the mid-wicket boundary, Rashid then picking out short third-man and Bresnan skying to the wicketkeeper to leave Yorkshire 307-8 in the 47th.
Patterson’s four fours in an over off Brown left Yorkshire wanting 21 from the last two, but after he was caught behind off Joe Leach, Worcestershire held their nerve.
Captain Leach added: “I didn’t expect it to be that close after we’d bowled 40 overs to be honest.
“It was a pretty good game of cricket, and my heart-rate has just started to settle down now after what was a bit of a panic for a little while.”