Yorkshire Vikings v Leicestershire Foxes - Jonny Bairstow leads way as Vikings win T20 run fest
Jonny Bairstow smashed 82 off 45 balls as Yorkshire added to Leicestershire’s miserable start to this season’s Vitality Blast with a thrilling 18-run victory in an Emerald Headingley run fest.
The Vikings amassed 240-4 before the Foxes gave them an almighty scare as Leeds-born Australian Josh Inglis matched Bairstow’s score off only 37 balls.
This was Yorkshire’s third highest total in Blast history and included Adam Lyth’s 51, 44 for David Willey and 48 not out for Harry Brook.
Leicestershire, 146-3 in the 13th over with opener Inglis unbeaten, later slipped to a fourth straight North Group defeat. But Inglis ensured they fought to the death at 222-8.
This was Yorkshire’s second win in three North Group games, and 462 runs combined equals the Blast record.
The triumph was built on a 113 opening partnership in 10.1 overs between Bairstow and Lyth, with further half-century stands for the third and fifth wickets.
On a glorious Leeds evening, there were 29 sixes hit.
Each of the Foxes six-man attack was taken to task after home captain Willey had won his side’s 10th toss in 11 in all cricket in 2021.
Afghanistan seamer Naveen-ul-Haq claimed two wickets, getting Willey and Bairstow caught in the deep in the 17th over. That left Yorkshire at 189-4.
Fellow quick Gavin Griffiths had a night to forget, conceding 60 in three overs.
Bairstow set the tone, giving the Foxes fielders little chance with his power.
Leicestershire’s chase was always going to be a mountainous task.
But that suited the dashing style of 26-year-old opener Inglis, who emigrated to Perth just before turning 15.
Having lost Scott Steel to Willey in the first over, Inglis and Arron Lilley took their side to 50-1 after only 3.4 overs to threaten a miracle.
New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson had Lilley playing on with his first ball – 55-2 in the fifth over.
Inglis and captain Colin Ackermann (32) then shared 86 inside seven overs for the third wicket, but Jordan Thompson’s hand in their departures just about ended the game.
Thompson had Ackermann caught in the deep and then brilliantly caught former under 11s team-mate Inglis one-handed at deep cover off Matthew Fisher.
That left 95 needed off 7.3 overs with six wickets left.
Ben Mike’s 31 helped the target to 31 off two overs and 23 off the last – with three wickets in hand. But Willey comfortably defended that and finished with 3-44.
Reflecting on the win, Vikings batsman Brook said: Yorkshire batsman Harry Brook said: “It was a great game. That’s what people come to watch the T20 format for. It’s very exciting, and they gave it a really good crack. To get that many runs and nearly chase it down was phenomenal from them.
“But we batted really well and stuck to it in the field.”
“Jonny and Lythy set the platform and gave myself, Frainey and Dave Willey the freedom.
“As soon as Jonny got to 50, we just thought every ball was going to go out of the park. It’s great to watch him bat, he’s always an entertainer, and it’s good to be batting behind him.”