IT WAS a tie that should have been a comfortable victory and which ultimately felt like a crushing defeat.
Despite needing only 47 to win from the last 40 balls with nine wickets in hand, Yorkshire failed to beat the Birmingham Bears.
They finished up on the same 177-4 to leave them with only one victory from seven matches at the halfway stage of the group campaign.
It might be an idea to hold off booking your hotel for Finals Day in late September, if you had not done so already.
Plenty can happen, of course, in the last seven matches, from which you would think that an absolute bare minimum of four victories would be needed to reach the knockouts.
It is not yet curtains for a side that has failed to reach that stage in five of the last six seasons, but results like this do not inspire confidence.
It is not yet curtains for a side that has failed to reach that stage in five of the last six seasons, but results like this do not inspire confidence. A confident team would have won this game with probably a few deliveries to spare.Chris Waters
A confident team would have won this game with probably a few deliveries to spare.
Instead, Yorkshire are apparently no closer to cracking this form of cricket than they have been since it was introduced in 2003; they have never won the T20 competition and only twice reached Finals Day.
There are not many excuses that can be made having been 131-1 from 13.2 overs.
David Willey was then bowled trying to strike Alex Thomson through mid-wicket, having struck the off-spinner’s previous delivery for six in the same direction.
It was a poor dismissal, but Willey had seemingly played his part with 30 from 15 deliveries, an innings which included two pulled sixes off the hapless pace bowler Fidel Edwards.
Ironically, Edwards, having been cannon fodder for much of the day (his first over went for 20 and his second for 16), restricted Yorkshire in a final over from which 11 were wanted.
In fact, the former West Indies’ player might even have won the game for his side had he been quicker to get down to a straight drive off the penultimate ball from which Tom Kohler-Cadmore gained two runs, only to then manage just a single off Edwards’s final delivery.
Kohler-Cadmore walked off looking distraught, having batted through the innings for 76 from 54 balls with four fours and two sixes.
He was captain for the day after Steve Patterson left himself out in favour of off-spinner Jack Shutt, who bowled impressively on only his second appearance along with fellow spinner Dom Bess.
It should still have been a formality after Willey’s dismissal, but Gary Ballance stepped outside his leg-stump to Henry Brookes and slapped a full toss straight to Thomson at cover, having contributed 11 from 12 deliveries.
Harry Brook was then bowled for two by Birmingham captain Jeetan Patel, the batsman ending up flat on his backside as he tried to paddle the ball over the wicketkeeper’s head.
Patel, as ever, was the main danger, returning 2-21 from his four overs; simply the outstanding bowler on either team.
Thomson was also economical for the visitors, his four overs costing just 27 runs as he played a significant role in the closing stages.
Birmingham’s innings was founded on a top score of 64 by Dominic Sibley, who, under different circumstances/a more imaginative selection panel, might have been playing for England this week in the first Ashes Test .
His credentials are certainly impressive; the 23-year-old is the highest run-scorer in Division One of the County Championship this season with 940 from nine games at 62.66.
Yorkshire, of course, know all about Sibley, who, when playing against them for Surrey at the Oval in 2013, became the youngest player to score a double hundred in a Championship match, striking 242 on only his third first-class appearance.
Yesterday, the powerful opener gave them an unwanted reminder of his quality, strikingly the ball cleanly during a 43-ball innings that included seven fours and a couple of sixes – one swung into the North East Stand over backward-square off Willey, the other creamed straight down the ground off Bess.
Sibley was finally out scooping Willey to short third-man, with the visitors’ innings given late impetus by former Yorkshire all-rounder Will Rhodes and Liam Banks, who took 40 off the last three overs. There were two wickets for Duanne Olivier, who was expensive and only called on to bowl three overs, with Tim Bresnan required to deliver just the one.
Adam Lyth hit 40 from 39 balls before being lured out of his ground and stumped off Patel, having shared 88 for the first wicket in 9.2 overs with Kohler-Cadmore.
It looked like being the platform for a comfortable win, but looks, as we know, can be deceptive.