Yorkshire Vikings v Leicestershire Foxes: Vikings quickly back on track with home win
NO COUNTY has a better T20 home record than Yorkshire in recent times.
Since the start of the 2016 competition Yorkshire have won 14 of 18 T20 home games, the latest a 60-run success against Leicestershire last night.
In contrast they have won only two of their last 12 T20 away fixtures since the 2016 quarter-finals, an anomaly that cannot be readily explained.
Suffice to say that Yorkshire, for the most part, enjoy playing at Emerald Headingley.
It rather helps when you have players of the quality of Kane Williamson, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, David Willey and Jack Brooks, all of whom made particularly important contributions as the hosts bounced back from the rarity of a home defeat only the previous evening. A response was needed after Derbyshire had dented Yorkshire’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals by completing a quickfire double over Steve Patterson’s men, who had consequently slipped out of the quarter-final places to sixth in the North Group.
But thanks to Williamson’s 77 from 41 balls with five fours and five sixes, his highest T20 score for the club, plus Kohler-Cadmore’s 53 from 44 and Willey’s 31 from 17, Yorkshire reached 187-5 after choosing to bat.
Brooks then took 3-23 and Willey 2-20 as Leicestershire totalled 127-9, Yorkshire climbing back up to fourth place after their fifth win in nine group fixtures.
Before 8,643 spectators, who watched in mild and sometimes sunny conditions, Yorkshire showed one change to the side that had lost to Derbyshire 24 hours earlier.
Brooks replaced fellow pace bowler Tim Bresnan, who was rested, while Liam Plunkett was unavailable due to a hip injury.
Leicestershire began poorly when pace bowler Mohammad Abbas conceded five wides off the first ball, which he sprayed down the leg-side to the Emerald Stand boundary despite all of the pre-match practice drills.
Mohammad Nabi struck first blood with the penultimate ball of the second over, the off-spinner having Adam Lyth caught pushing to cover. It should have been 25-2 in the fourth, but Ben Raine dropped a simple chance when Kohler-Cadmore, on nine, launched Nabi to deep mid-wicket.
Kohler-Cadmore rubbed salt into the wounds by lofting Gavin Griffiths for six over long-on towards the pavilion before Willey deposited Abbas halfway up the West Stand over mid-wicket as Yorkshire reached 55-1 from the six-over powerplay.
Willey also struck a leg-side six off left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson and off-spinner Colin Ackermann before skying Ackermann to short fine-leg, where Mark Cosgrove took the catch.
Willey’s cameo helped Yorkshire to 87-2 at the halfway stage, a platform for exactly the sort of score they eventually managed.
Williamson, a masterly combination of firepower and finesse, maintained the momentum, lofting Griffiths for six over square-leg and then stepping back to help Raine over the long-leg boundary.
The New Zealander added 67 in seven overs with Kohler-Cadmore, who fell in the 16th over when he slapped a Parkinson full toss to deep cover.
Williamson then stepped towards the offside to flick Abbas to the fine-leg boundary to reach a 30-ball half-century, before a brace of leg-side sixes off Nabi took him past his previous T20 best for Yorkshire – 65 against Derbyshire at Derby in 2016.
Gary Ballance carved Griffiths to point in the penultimate over, where Cosgrove took the catch at the third attempt, and after launching his fifth sixth by depositing Abbas over mid-wicket, Williamson was bowled with three balls left when he tried to whip the same bowler to the leg-side.
Leicestershire, who had won all three of their T20 away matches this year but none of their four home games, proceeded to fall away like a house of cards.
A brace of leg-side sixes by Cameron Delport off Azeem Rafiq was a red herring as the South African then lobbed Willey up to mid-on, Willey pouncing again four balls later when Jonny Tattersall took a quite outstanding catch behind the stumps, diving one-handed high to his left, to send back Cosgrove.
Brooks struck twice in four balls as Raine sliced to cover and Ackermann had his stumps spectacularly rearranged.
Another wicket followed in Brooks’s next over when Neil Dexter was caught behind, Leicestershire falling to 66-6 – an appropriate score considering their devilish predicament – when Ned Eckersley reverse-swept Rafiq to short third-man. Rafiq claimed his second victim when Nabi picked out Lyth at long-on, Lyth taking another catch there to dismiss Tom Wells off Patterson.
Jordan Thompson had Abbas caught behind, with Parkinson’s unbeaten 27 the top-score as Yorkshire emphatically got their T20 campaign back on track.