Leics v Yorks T20: Below-par bowling display sees Tykes lose top spot
THEY say that blue and green should never be seen - but not when these teams meet in T20.
On a night when Leicestershire, in green, beat Yorkshire in blue, running out victors by 34 runs, another entertaining game was witnessed by all beneath skies that were battleship grey in colour.
Earlier in the competition, the blues and the greens shared a run-fest at Headingley, the match aggregate of 462 runs equalling the English T20 record.
There were not quite the same fireworks this time but still runs aplenty, Leicestershire making 207-3 - their highest T20 total against Yorkshire at home - before the visitors were dismissed for 173 with one ball left.
After two Lancastrians starred for the hosts, Arron Lilley top-scoring with 99 not out and left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson taking 4-35, Yorkshire faced an anxious wait to find out whether they still remained on top of the North Group.
They do not, Derbyshire blowing a gilt-edged chance to beat Nottinghamshire at Derby, where a tie saw Nottinghamshire leapfrog Yorkshire by the barest of margins on net run-rate.
Both clubs have 11 points with six games left in the 14-match group stage, with Birmingham and Durham two points behind in third and fourth, and Lancashire and Worcestershire a point behind them. Only three points separate the top-six, with Yorkshire back in action tomorrow evening against Northants at Headingley.
Although the runs flowed again between Yorkshire and Leicestershire, the Vikings never seriously threatened the target, leaving first-team coach Andrew Gale to bemoan a profligate bowling display after the hosts had opted to bat.
“All round, we didn’t bring our A game,” said Gale. “It was disappointing given the good form and confidence we’ve had, but if you’re slightly off in this format against whoever, it will bite you.
“I don’t think it was so much our plans (with the ball), it was more execution. Whenever we went for a wide yorker, we were a little bit off it. Whenever we went for a slower ball into the pitch, we put it on their tee.
“We had 15 extras and a catch we should have caught which was six. All these things add up.”
The pitch at Grace Road gave no margin for error, and Yorkshire’s radar was not at its sharpest. Only spinner Dom Bess (0-21 from four overs) covered himself in anything approaching glory, with Joe Root, Matthew Fisher, Matthew Waite and Jordan Thompson each conceding over 10 runs an over.
Lilley, the 30-year-old who hails from Tameside, dished it out to the Yorkshire attack, striking four sixes and nine fours in a 55-ball innings that was his highest in all professional cricket.
He was desperately unfortunate not to reach three-figures, having 94 to his name when he launched the penultimate ball of the Leicestershire innings to the long-leg boundary off Fisher, where it perhaps fell a millimetre short of going for six.Lilley could then manage only one run off the final ball.
Yorkshire had struck early in proceedings - a bonus wicket when the dangerous Josh Inglis patted a full toss from Root back to the bowler, leaving Leicestershire 24-1 in the third. The score had risen to 99 in the 11th when the second wicket fell, a mix-up between Lilley and Scott Steel resulting in the latter being run out for 32.
Lilley and Colin Ackermann, the Leicestershire captain, added 90 in 7.3 overs, Ackermann making 40 from 22 balls after being dropped on nought by Bess - a fast return chance which burst through the bowler’s hands.
Ackermann was also “caught” at deep mid-wicket by Thompson off Lockie Ferguson only for the fielder to step over the rope in completing the take, which pretty much summed up Yorkshire’s night.
Most of the damage had already been done by the time Ackermann was bowled by Fisher in the 18th over as he aimed across the line.
Then it was over to Parkinson, the Bolton-born spinner and twin brother of England leg-spinner Matt. Two wickets in his first over, the fourth of the chase, soon put Yorkshire on the back foot, Jonny Tattersall skying to backward-point and Adam Lyth going lbw on the sweep.
Gary Ballance and Root worked the ball around nicely, occasionally finding the boundary with seemingly minimal effort, but it ideally needed one or both of them to hang around.
Instead, Root sliced a full toss from Parkinson into the off-side and Ballance, in trying to cut, was bowled by the off-spin of Steel as Yorkshire slipped to 93-4 in the 12th over.
After George Hill picked out deep mid-wicket, the heroes of Wednesday evening, Harry Brook and Jordan Thompson, who shared an English T20 record sixth-wicket stand of 141 against Worcestershire, were unable to reprise their heroic display.
Thompson was bowled by Parkinson for a second-ball duck and Brook caught-and-bowled by Gavin Griffiths, leaving Yorkshire 127-7 in the 16th.
Matthew Waite was well caught by Ackermann running back from cover before Bess and Fisher produced plucky cameos.
Both fell in the last over, bowled by Ben Mike, with Fisher skying to mid-wicket and Bess to mid-off.