Yorkshire v Warwickshire: Lads can be proud despite this defeat – Moxon
In a surprise result, Warwickshire won a dramatic semi-final to earn a date with Somerset at Lord's next Saturday.
Set 260 in a game reduced by rain to 37 overs a side, they prevailed by four wickets with seven balls to spare.
It was Yorkshire's fourth successive semi-final defeat and a bitter pill for the club to swallow.
They had won 10 of 12 group games to reach the last four and were undoubted favourites going into the tie.
But after Yorkshire made 257-5 having been sent into bat, Jacques Rudolph cementing his status as the tournament's leading run-scorer with an innings of 106, Warwickshire stunned the 5,100 crowd.
After Varun Chopra (76), Ian Bell (57) and Neil Carter (40) provided the platform, Darren Maddy sealed the win with an unbeaten 34 from 19 balls.
There was no hiding the disappointment on the faces of the Yorkshire players and coaches at the end of the game, which made for a stark contrast with the jubilant scenes in the visitors' dressing room.
But Yorkshire's director of professional cricket Martyn Moxon insisted his side deserved credit for their efforts this year.
"I've said to the lads they can be very proud of themselves because they've played some terrific one-day cricket this summer," said Moxon.
"It's obviously bitterly disappointing not to have reached the final but we can take a lot of heart from the way that we've played.
"A semi-final is always the worst game to lose and it's a bitter pill for everyone to swallow.
"But once the dust has settled, I think we can look back with satisfaction on what we've achieved."
After play began 15 minutes late following a heavy shower, which initially reduced the contest to 39 overs-a-side, Yorkshire were given a typically fine start by Rudolph and Gale. Their opening stands in the group stages made for remarkable reading: 233*, 61, 19, 81, 101, 20, 41, 79, 71, 50, 7 and 18.
This time they added 73 in 12 overs before Gale struck Keith Barker down long-off's throat.
Yorkshire slipped to 91-2 in the 15th over when Adam Lyth cut the left-arm spin of Ant Botha to backward point – and to 114-3 in the 22nd when Anthony McGrath was caught behind off wrist-spinner Imran Tahir.
But Rudolph found a willing ally in fellow South African Gerard Brophy, who played an aggressive hand while his partner dropped anchor with typical aplomb.
Yorkshire got bogged down during a 12-over period in which they failed to find the boundary, but Brophy injected much-needed impetus by striking Botha for six over mid-wicket and then launching Tahir for a leg-side maximum.
Rudolph rolled along like the inexorable flood tide, reaching fifty from 46 balls with five fours and a six over mid-wicket off Chris Woakes, and was content to give Brophy as much strike as possible.
The wicketkeeper was never afraid to chance his arm and he struck Barker for a six over mid-wicket and Neil Carter for a six over long-leg on his way to a scintillating 38-ball half-century.
When he finally perished for 64 off 46 balls, caught at long-off with the total on 213, Jonathan Bairstow upped the ante even more dramatically to suggest he is too low in the order at No 6.
Bairstow, who appears to have all the makings of a quality No 4, clubbed his first ball from Carter out the ground over mid-wicket and needed only nine deliveries to make an unbeaten 26.
Rudolph was run-out from the last ball of the innings after lifting his tournament total to a staggering 861 runs at 95.66.
The vagaries of the Duckworth-Lewis method meant Warwickshire only had to score a further three runs than Yorkshire to win the game, which understandably annoyed Moxon, but you sensed the challenge would still prove beyond the visitors.
However, Carter and Chopra gave them a great start, raising an opening stand of 65 in eight overs before Carter went lbw to Ben Sanderson, whose afternoon was ended by a side injury.
Gale dropped Chopra on 25 off Adil Rashid at cover and grassed Barker on 16 in the same position off Richard Pyrah.
Neither opportunity was straightforward: the former struck like a tracer bullet, the latter skied so high it almost took out a seagull, but Yorkshire's fielding was not at its sharpest.
Barker flailed 34 from 26 balls before edging Pyrah behind, whereupon Chopra and Bell shared a classy stand.
But after appearing to be coasting on 147-2 after 20 overs, Warwickshire managed only 12 runs during a four-over period as Yorkshire fought with trademark tenacity.
When Rashid captured two wickets in his final over, having Bell caught at deep cover and Jim Troughton held at long-off, it seemed Yorkshire might just keep their opponents at bay.
Chopra fell on 216 when he picked out mid-off, but Maddy eased the visitors' nerves with successive sixes off Steve Patterson that made the dying stages a formality.
DISPLAY OF THE DAY
Scored 106 from 95 balls with nine fours and a six but Yorkshire suffered semi-final heartbreak at North Marine Road.