IF EVERY aspect of Yorkshire’s T20 cricket was as good as its opening batting partnership, the club would not be consistently struggling in the game’s shortest format.
In Adam Lyth and Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Yorkshire have a prolific duo whose performances deserve to be part of a successful side, not one routinely unable to reach the knockout stages.
The sort of tantalising display that showed what might have been.Chris Waters
Already eliminated prior to this final group game, the sixth time in seven years that they have not made the quarter-finals, Yorkshire at least bowed out with a 19-run win against Birmingham Bears, the sort of tantalising display that showed what might have been.
Unsurprisingly, Lyth and Kohler-Cadmore were the catalysts, their stand of 102 underpinning a total of 200-3 after Yorkshire were sent into bat on a sunny evening, Birmingham responding with 181-5 as Sam Hain top-scored with 64 not out.
Lyth and Kohler-Cadmore’s century stand was their third in this year’s tournament to go with a brace of 88s, a level of competence out of keeping with the collective efforts.
Kohler-Cadmore led the way here with 94 not out from 63 balls with two sixes and nine fours, Lyth contributing 42 from 31 balls with six fours, Kohler-Cadmore (435) also winning the race to finish as Yorkshire’s leading T20 run-scorer this summer over Lyth (379), David Willey the next-highest with 136.
In muggy, breezy conditions, 25 of Willey’s total came here from just 10 deliveries, including three towering straight sixes. Harry Brook chipped in with 23 off 13, Yorkshire signing off with their second-highest score in this year’s competition.
On a night when the visitors made one change to the side that beat Northamptonshire by 80 runs at Headingley the previous evening, Mat Pillans replacing fellow pace bowler Jordan Thompson, Lyth and Kohler-Cadmore were immediately dominant.
Kohler-Cadmore lofted the former Yorkshire left-armer James Wainman for six over long-on, Lyth following with a couple of handsome off-side boundaries as he cover drove Jeetan Patel and then rocked back to cut fellow spinner Chris Green.
Tall and imposing, Kohler-Cadmore is as powerful as they come, but it is a mistake to think of him merely as a biffer of bowling.
Arguably the shot of the night was when he late-cut Patel to the boundary as Yorkshire reached 92-0 at the halfway stage, a stroke of the most sumptuous finesse.
A reverse-hit off Rhodes and a vicious cover-drive off the same bowler were other highlights, but Kohler-Cadmore went through the full gamut of strokes in a grand display which, by rights, deserved a century.
Lyth matched him before picking out deep mid-wicket off pace bowler George Garrett from the penultimate ball of the 12th over, Willey falling to a catch at long-off off spinner Green.
Brook struck Wainman for a couple of sixes before playing-on to Will Rhodes, another former Yorkshire player, as he made extravagant room to hit to leg.
When Birmingham replied, the night lights of the Second City now twinkling in the distance, Ed Pollock and Dominic Sibley got the innings going with a flurry of firmly-hit boundaries.
After striking five in his first 10 balls, Pollock, the 24-year-old left-hander, edged Tim Bresnan to wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall after pulling Bresnan’s previous delivery for six towards the Hollies Stand.
It was a good comeback by Bresnan, who, after his next delivery was then whipped for a leg-side four by new batsman Green, struck for the second time in three deliveries when Green hammered to point, where Will Fraine pulled off a thrilling diving catch.
Pillans bowled Matthew Lamb making room as Birmingham reached 56-3 at the end of the six-over powerplay, Yorkshire having been 58-0 at the same stage.
The pitch was good but there was grip for the spinners, and after Keshav Maharaj and Jack Shutt found some assistance, Lyth nipped in with the key wicket of Sibley, trapped lbw with an off-break as he tried to sweep.
Birmingham kept up with the rate for the most part but wickets were the problem, another key one falling when Rhodes swung hard at Maharaj and was bowled to leave the total 123-5 from the first delivery of the 15th over.
The sides had tied their two previous white-ball meetings this year, but Yorkshire turned the screw under the mounting pressure of the chase, intensified when Alex Thomson took seven balls to get off the mark as the equation boiled down to 63 needed off the last four overs. Hain played nicely but Yorkshire skilfully closed out the win.