Gary Ballance eased his England disappointment by inspiring Yorkshire to a seven-run Duckworth-Lewis victory over Derbyshire in a rain-affected Royal London One-Day Cup game at Derby.
Ballance top-scored with 69 from 70 balls in Yorkshire’s 239-6 from 42 overs and although Hamish Rutherford replied with a 44-ball half-century and Billy Godleman hit 45 off 38 balls, Steven Patterson took 3-37 as Derbyshire fell short of a revised target of 197 from 29 overs.
The rain which delayed the start by 90 minutes had slowed up the outfield and on a sluggish pitch, boundaries were elusive with only 31 runs coming from the opening nine-over powerplay.
It was no surprise when Alex Lees mistimed a pull to mid on and although Glenn Maxwell straight drove Shiv Thakor for six, he again failed to build on a promising start and flicked Alex Hughes into the hands of deep mid-wicket.
Mark Footitt had Andrew Gale lbw playing across the line to leave Yorkshire on 91-3, but Ballance and Jack Leaning provided the momentum required by working the ball into the gaps to add 83 at a run a ball. Leaning pulled Alex Hughes over deep mid-wicket for six but the runs came mainly from astute placement against disciplined bowling, backed up by fielding which was excellent given the conditions.
A top-edged hook by Leaning to long leg ended the stand but Ballance cleared the long on boundary and added 36 from 25 balls with Tim Bresnan before a superb one-handed diving catch by Hughes removed the former England international.
Ballance was caught behind trying to slog-sweep Ben Cotton with two overs left but Liam Plunkett’s unbeaten 17 from 12 balls took Yorkshire to a competitive total before more rain delayed the game by just over an hour and left Derbyshire chasing a revised target. Godleman drove and pulled Jack Brooks for two fours from the first over and cut and drove Bresnan for two more boundaries in the second but Wes Durston then pulled Brooks to mid-wicket where Ballance held on at the third attempt. Godleman drove Bresnan back over his head for four and Yorkshire’s frustration increased when Ballance dropped Wayne Madsen at point on nine two balls later.
Madsen drove Patterson down the ground for four but next ball was bowled attempting a ramp and Derbyshire suffered another setback in the next over when Godleman was caught behind trying to drive Plunkett.
A mix-up with Rutherford saw Thakor needlessly run out and Maxwell took a stunning one-handed diving catch at point to remove Hughes and although Rutherford drove the Australian for six and Chesney Hughes hit him for another maximum, Derbyshire’s hopes ended when Rutherford holed out to long off for 56 before Cotton and Matt Critchley were dismissed in the final over.