Yorkshire Vikings stay in the mix as they put Steelbacks to the sword

AS MUCH as you can predict anything in T20, given the format's innate unpredictability, this had a Yorkshire win written all over it.

LEADING MAN: Yorkshire's Kane Williamson cuts through cover point on his way to 52 not out. Picture by Anna Gowthorpe/SWpix.com
LEADING MAN: Yorkshire's Kane Williamson cuts through cover point on his way to 52 not out. Picture by Anna Gowthorpe/SWpix.com

The hosts went into the game in the final quarter-final place in the North Group after five wins from their opening nine matches, whereas Northants were rock-bottom after seven defeats and a tie from their first eight fixtures.

Sure enough, it all went true to form, Yorkshire winning by six wickets with eight balls to spare to climb to third in the table to stay well on course for the knockout stages.

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Another two wins from their last four games should be enough, with the return match at Northants still to come along with home and away ties against Notts and a home game with Lancashire.

After winning the toss, Northants scored 129-7 from their 20 overs, a total that was never likely to be sufficient

Charlie Thurston, a 21-year-old product of Bedford School, top-scored with 41 on his T20 debut, made from 33 balls with one four and two sixes, having made his solitary List A appearance against Yorkshire at this ground only two months earlier.

Steve Patterson was Yorkshire’s most successful bowler with 2-26, while there was a wicket each for Northants old boys David Willey and Jack Brooks, as there was for Jordan Thompson and Azeem Rafiq.

Kane Williamson showed all his class in top-scoring with an unbeaten 52 in the Yorkshire innings, made from 44 balls with three fours and two sixes, the New Zealander making it look terribly easy in a game that never broke out into a proper contest due entirely to Yorkshire’s excellence.

Yorkshire's Tom Kohler-Cadmore pulls through mid-wicket. Picture by Anna Gowthorpe/SWpix.com

Before a crowd of 9,152, Northants were immediately in trouble at 18-2 after five overs.

Brooks struck with the second ball of the second over as Yorkshire – unchanged from their win against Leicestershire on Tuesday – immediately established an iron grip.

The pace bowler had Richard Levi caught behind from an ugly waft outside off-stump, and, in his next over, inadvertently deflected a straight drive on to the stumps at the bowler’s end to run out Josh Cobb.

Although Brooks conceded 13 from the last over of the six-over powerplay, including a scooped six by Ben Duckett, Yorkshire were all over their opponents like circling vultures.

Yorkshire's Jordan Thompson celebrates taking the wicket of Northants' Ben Duckett. Picture by Anna Gowthorpe/SWpix.com

Duckett was third out with the score on 48, somewhat apologetically lobbing Thompson to Patterson at mid-off.

It was the sort of nothing shot that summed up Northants’s T20 season, and by the halfway stage they were 62-3.

The visitors lost Steven Crook to the first delivery of the 11th over, swatting Patterson tamely to mid-off, where the ball failed to defeat the considerable vertical reach of Tom Kohler-Cadmore.

Moments later, play was briefly interrupted when a spectator ran across the field when the ball was in play, putting off Adam Lyth as he ran in from long-on.

The intruder made his way towards the West Stand, where he was accosted by Vinnie the Viking, the Yorkshire mascot, before being led away by stewards, while there was a further incursion in the Yorkshire innings when a spectator flopped down on the centre of the pitch.

Ideally, anyone doing this should be moved on to a good length and made to stay there while the bowlers take turns in trying to administer a fatal blow – a tactical twist that the organisers of the preposterous 100-ball tounament might like to consider.

Northants slipped to 79-5 when Alex Wakely lobbed Rafiq to Kohler-Cadmore at long-off, and then to 98-6 when Seekkuge Prassana pulled Willey to Brooks at long-leg. Thurston’s innings ended in the last over when he lofted Patterson to Thompson at deep-point.

If anyone doubts that sport can be a great leveller, proof arrived with the second ball of the Yorkshire reply when Lyth was caught behind off Richard Gleeson for a duck. In the corresponding match last year, Lyth scored an English T20 record 161 out of an English T20 record total of 260-4.

Funny old game…

Nor is there a hiding place in sport when mishaps occur, just as one did when Willey was run-out to leave Yorkshire 23-2 in the fifth over.

Kohler-Cadmore played Brett Hutton into the leg-side and then he and Willey got in each other’s way as they tried for a second run, the detour leaving Willey short of his ground.

Kohler-Cadmore holed out towards the straight boundary after making a run-a-ball 27, but Williamson and Gary Ballance came together and added 51 in seven overs to effectively put the issue beyond doubt, Ballance making a promising 24 before finding mid-wicket.