Shocking at Edgbaston, superb at the Emerald, Yorkshire got their T20 campaign back on track with a nine-run win over Lancashire.
Bowled out for 81 by Birmingham Bears on Wednesday, their lowest T20 total en route to a 10-wicket defeat with 11.3 overs left, Yorkshire scored 180-4 this time before restricting the Red Rose to 171-8.
Lockie Ferguson, the New Zealand fast bowler, finished the match with a hat-trick, Yorkshire’s first in T20, as the hosts all-but sealed their quarter-final place with three games remaining.
On a muggy night that only added to the claustrophobic Roses atmosphere, as keen as ever despite the restricted capacity of 4,250, Yorkshire played like a side with a point to prove.
Adam Lyth set the tone with a captain’s innings of 52 from 40 balls, as though personally exorcising the demons of Edgbaston.
Harry Brook confirmed his reputation as one of English cricket’s brightest young talents, striking a career-best 91 not out from 50 deliveries to become the leading run-scorer in this year’s Blast (for the record, 463 runs from 10 innings at an average - boosted by six not outs - of 115.75).
And George Hill chipped in with a sparky cameo, helping Brook add 64 from 32 balls in an unbroken stand as Yorkshire scored 180-4 after choosing to bat, 60 runs coming off the last four overs.
Then, with the ball and in the field, Yorkshire were excellent for long periods and held their nerve in the crucial closing stages.
Lyth again set the tone with the wicket of Finn Allen, the dangerous New Zealand overseas player, and later held three skiers in the deep to show his value to Yorkshire in every department.
Ferguson got rid of Lancashire captain Dane Vilas, another dangerous customer, while Dom Bess chipped in with some miserly overs, displaying craft and guile on the used surface.
Rob Jones (61 not out from 48 balls), and Steven Croft (41 from 23), added 85 in just eight overs to take Lancashire closer than anticipated, but with 20 needed from the final over, Ferguson bounced back after conceding 10 from the first three balls to have Luke Wells caught by Lyth running back from mid-off, yorking Luke Wood and then completing his hat-trick when Lyth – who else? – pouched Tom Hartley as he skied straight and high into the breathless night.
“A bit of emotion came out there at the end,” said Lyth, who had celebrated Ferguson’s match-clinching trio as though he had taken the hat-trick himself.
“I was absolutely buzzing with that win.
“At half time, I thought we had a good score, and Brooky played a match-winning knock – super proud for him – and Hilly also played really well.
“Lockie’s class came through at the end, and he’s been absolutely phenomenal for us all comp – not just for his bowling, but for the advice he passes on to our younger bowlers as well, and to have him bowling that last over was great for us.”
Brook, named man-of-the-match for an innings that contained 10 fours and three sixes, plus a number of delightfully deft touches to go with the big-hitting salvos, said: “It was enjoyable to score some runs and to contribute to the team. I’m really enjoying it, and I’ve just been trying to play a bit lower-risk cricket, know my boundary options a bit more and know where I have to hit it.
“Hopefully there’s more to come in the future.”
Brook also chipped in with two catches in the deep and looks a player of increasing maturity. The bar is set high when it comes to the skills that the T20 generation show these days and this lad, on song, is as good as any of the up-coming crew.
Ferguson, who finished with 4-24 from four overs, was signed by Yorkshire not least because of his talent for bowling at the death.
He will not wish to be reminded of the delivery that cost four extras when he failed to locate the cut strip in a madcap final over, but what a response from him and from Yorkshire too, the gloom of Edgbaston emphatically lifted.