Harry Brook and Jordan Thompson in record-breaking partnership as Yorkshire Vikings claim unlikely T20 win over Worcestershire

Jordan Thompson hits out against the Rapids on his way to 66 from 28 balls. Pictures: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comJordan Thompson hits out against the Rapids on his way to 66 from 28 balls. Pictures: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Jordan Thompson hits out against the Rapids on his way to 66 from 28 balls. Pictures: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
IT was “unbelievable Jeff”.

But Chris Kamara would have needed a whole new catchphrase to sum up this game.

After choosing to bat, Yorkshire’s score stood at a wretched 18-4 at the end of the six-over powerplay.

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They managed just one boundary in that time – Adam Lyth driving the second ball of the night from spinner Jake Libby to the foot of the West Stand.

Harry Brook hits out against the Rapids on his way to 83 from 54 balls.Harry Brook hits out against the Rapids on his way to 83 from 54 balls.
Harry Brook hits out against the Rapids on his way to 83 from 54 balls.

At that stage, with the sell-out crowd stunned into disbelieving silence, Yorkshire were on course to fall well short of their lowest-ever T20 total – 90-9 against 
Durham at Chester-le-Street in 2009.

Matters were only slightly better at the end of the ninth over, when they were 33-4 – all of the wickets to pace bowler Dillon Pennington in the space of eight balls from the Kirkstall Lane end.

But after slipping to 50-5 to the final delivery of the 11th over, Yorkshire recovered to finish on a ridiculously implausible 191-5 from their 20 overs, hammering 173 runs after the powerplay including 158 from the last 11 overs.

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Architects of this simply absurd revival were Harry Brook and Jordan Thompson who shared an English record T20 sixth-wicket stand of 141 unbroken from 56 balls, Brook top-scoring with 83 from 54 deliveries with six sixes and four fours, Thompson contributing 66 from 28 balls with five sixes and five fours, both career-bests.

Jordan Thompson hits out.Jordan Thompson hits out.
Jordan Thompson hits out.

Worcestershire made 179-5 in reply as Yorkshire prevailed by 12 runs to climb back to the top of the North Group with five wins from seven matches, superbly positioned at the halfway stage of the group campaign to qualify for the knockouts for the first time since 2016, barring any Devon Loch-style implosion.

On a night when Yorkshire’s supporters went through the gamut of emotions, ranging from despair to delight and everything in between, Brook and Thompson dazzled beneath the floodlights.

Only once in the world has a higher sixth-wicket stand been achieved in T20, Kennar Lewis and Andre Russell sharing 161 for Jamaica Tallawahs against Trinbago Knight Riders at Port-of-Spain in the 2018 Caribbean Premier League.

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The Yorkshire duo beat the previous English record for that wicket of 126 unbroken between Calum MacLeod and John Hastings for Durham against Northants at Chester-le-Street in 2014.

The wonder of it all was that no one could have seen it coming; not even Nostradamus would have dared to make such a fanciful prediction.

But it was also a stand that should never have happened.

For the key moment in the match, given the nature of what followed and what had already transpired, came in the seventh over of the Yorkshire innings with the score 21-4.

With Lyth having been caught at third man, Jonny Tattersall held at mid-wicket and Gary Ballance taken at deep mid-wicket before Joe Root was lbw trying to work to leg, the game might have been as good as done had Brook not been horrendously dropped on two at mid-wicket by Riki Wessels off Pennington.

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It was the sort of catch that Geoffrey Boycott’s mother could have taken in her pinny while doing the washing up, a catch so straightforward that it was almost the equivalent of two dropped chances. Grateful for the reprieve, Brook metamorphosed into a hitting machine as the straight boundaries, in particular, were thrillingly targeted.

After George Hill was bowled making room to cut, Thompson peppered the stands on both sides of the wicket, striking 17 of the 21 runs conceded by Pennington off his final over to ruin hitherto remarkable figures of 3-2-3-4, all four wickets coming before he had conceded a run.

To their credit, Worcestershire did not go gentle into that good night.

Although Brett D’Oliveira was run-out at the non-striker’s end, Tom Fell caught behind and Libby pouched at long-off to leave them 50-3 in the eighth, Wessels seemed on a one-man mission to atone for his spilling of Brook as he carried the fight to the Yorkshire bowlers. He was eventually out with the total on 118 in the 15th over, yorked by Matthew Fisher for 77 made from 45 balls with eight fours and two sixes. It was just about the final nail in the visitors’ coffin.

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However, on a night when Tom Kohler-Cadmore was missing for the hosts after fracturing a finger while keeping wicket during Sunday’s win against Derbyshire, and Will Fraine absent due to a side injury sustained during training, nothing could be entirely ruled out until Ross Whiteley – who once struck six sixes in an over on this ground off the former Yorkshire spinner Karl Carver –had been dismissed. When Fisher had him caught at long-on in the last over, from which 23 were needed, the game was up, despite Ben Cox’s unbeaten 61.

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