Finch powers Yorkshire to Roses win as Lancashire pay penalty

Yorkshire Vikings Richard Pyrah celebrates hitting the winning runs against Lancashire.

Yorkshire Vikings Richard Pyrah celebrates hitting the winning runs against Lancashire.

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Yorkshire ended Roses rivals Lancashire’s winning run in a thrilling NatWest t20 Blast match which had something for everyone at Old Trafford.

Even after a wonderful innings of 88 from Aaron Finch in pursuit of 179-6, it seemed table-toppers Lancashire might clinch victory.

But instead, with a dash of controversy after Paul Horton’s hosts were docked six crucial runs for their slow over rate, Yorkshire just got over the line.

It fell ultimately to Rich Pyrah to complete the task when he speared Kabir Ali over cover for six, to inch the verdict with three balls and five wickets in hand.

Several others had, however, combined to serve up some wonderful entertainment.

Tom Smith’s 50 from just 22 balls, the joint-quickest for Lancashire, half-centuries too from Horton (60) and then Finch – not to mention one of the all-time great catches thrown in – were all worth the admission in their own right. After Lancashire chose to bat first on a sunny evening, the hosts had 58-1 on the board in the first five overs – thanks almost exclusively to Smith.

But then they mustered only 22 more in the next five for the loss of Smith, a special innings ended appropriately by a very special catch.

It was one for which Adam Lyth will get no mention in the scorecard, despite his perfectly-timed leap high to intercept what would have been a six off Adil Rashid over long off and parry the ball back for a simple take inside the rope by Finch.

Even in the Twenty20 era of commonplace brilliance in the field, it was a moment Lyth and plenty of others will rightly never forget.

Kabir quickly dispatched Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale, bowled off-stump slogging as the visitors immediately faltered to 3-1. But the seamer was unable to hold a return chance which reprieved Finch on only six.

He and Alex Lees then shared a stand of 99 in 12 overs. But the contest remained even as Horton brought back Junaid Khan early to hit the base of Lees’ leg-stump and then Kabir returned to bowl Lyth.

In between, Finch twice clubbed Jordan Clark for huge sixes before being undone by a slower ball from Smith when he was caught at short third-man to end a 55-ball innings containing eight fours and five sixes.

Yorkshire needed only eight off the last over – and Pyrah did the rest.

Cricket commentator Henry Blofeld proudly holds his OBE back in 2003. Blofeld will retire from his role as commentator on the BBC Radio 4's Test Match Special programme in September.

My dear old thing... Henry Blofeld to retire from TMS commentary job