Yorkshire reached the Friends Life t20 Finals Day for the first time with a stunning display of power hitting seeing off Worcestershire Royals by 29 runs in an entertaining quarter-final at Headingley.
Half-centuries from Joe Root and South Africa’s David Miller were added to by Gary Ballance’s 46 not out off 20 balls as the hosts racked up 212-5, just one run short of their highest score in the history of the competition.
Australian Phil Hughes matched his opponents with a blistering unbeaten 80 off 53 balls but compatriot Mitchell Starc led the way with the ball for Yorkshire with 3-24 to restrict the visitors to 183-6.
After losing three wickets in the first nine overs of their innings following Andrew Gale’s decision to bat first, the hosts really motored in the latter stages thanks to Miller and Ballance in particular.
Root, who picked the perfect time to score a career best 65 off 40 balls, shared 59 for the second wicket with Gale after Phil Jaques was run out four balls into the match and then added 52 with Miller for the fourth.
After he was caught and bowled by Aneesh Kapil, leaving the score at 126-4 after 14, the innings really exploded.
All of Yorkshire’s nine sixes, five of which went to Ballance and three to Miller (50 off 25 balls), came in the last 25 balls as 72 were scored in the last four overs.
Worcester were hampered by the loss of Vikram Solanki and Moeen Ali to Starc and Rich Pyrah inside the first three overs of their chase.
However, Hughes and James Cameron kept their side in the contest with some impressive hitting in a 75-run stand for the third wicket.
Both men hit sixes before Cameron fell to a neat piece of work on the long-on fence by Root and Miller, who completed the catch after his team-mate had thrown it in the air before stepping over the rope.
It left Pyrah with his second wicket and the visitors at 95-3 in the 11th over.
Gareth Andrew briefly threatened with successive sixes over long-on off Pyrah in the 15th over but he was caught trying to repeat the dose off the impressive Azeem Rafiq (1-26) in the next, leaving the score at 143-4 with 70 still needed.
Starc returned to get Daryl Mitchell caught at mid-off and, defending 36 off the last over, Kapil bowled well in what is expected to be his last appearance for the county.