Jordan Thompson hits Yorkshire Vikings back into T20 Blast North Group pole position against Northamptonshire Steelbacks
YORKSHIRE say they had no choice but to go down the loan route to strengthen their hopes of winning the T20 Blast.
The club are without seven first-choice players due to injury and international call-ups, prompting a move for batsman Mark Stoneman.
Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid, David Willey and David Malan are with England, while Tom Kohler-Cadmore (broken finger) and Will Fraine (side strain) are out for around three weeks.
Stoneman, the Surrey left-hander who is not part of their first-choice T20 team, debuted against Northants at Headingley on Saturday, scoring 50 as Yorkshire won by 82 runs.
Jordan Thompson made a T20 career-best 74 to help his side go top of the North Group.
The in-form all-rounder hit seven sixes in his 35-ball innings as stand-in skipper Adam Lyth’s team posted a daunting 224-3.
That was more than sufficient to defeat the Steelbacks, who mustered just 142 with Dom Bess collecting his own career-best short-form figures of 3-17.
“With the number of players we are now missing due to England commitments and injury, we felt we needed to add a top-order batsman to our squad for the latter stages of the group,” said Yorkshire first-team coach Andrew Gale.
“We have made a great start to this year’s Vitality Blast and seen some great contributions from some of our younger players, but feel like the addition of an experienced batsman at the top of the order is important to help keep up the momentum. Mark Stoneman clearly fits the ball for what we are looking for.”
Stoneman, who turned 34 on Saturday, was brought in to open the batting with Lyth.
The former Durham man, who played 11 Tests in 2017/2018, is available for the remaining group games apart from Notts at Trent Bridge on July 9 as Surrey want him back to prepare for a Championship fixture.
Things looked promising for the home side from the opening overs of the game.
Lyth made 25 before being bowled by Tom Taylor but Stoneman maintained the momentum while, at the other end, Thompson showed why he merited his promotion to No3 by hitting Brandon Glover for a six over long-on and then two more maximums off successive balls from Rob Keogh.
The pair brought up their 50 partnership off 26 balls and Stoneman reached his own half-century off 30 deliveries before being leg before to Mohammad Nabi.
Thompson reached his own fifty off 27 balls and then hit three sixes in one Taylor over before the bowler got his revenge by catching the Yorkshire batsman at long-off when off Glover.
Harry Brook and Gary Ballance hit two sixes apiece off Ben Sanderson’s final over as the pair put on an unbroken 58 in the final 4.3 overs.
Northamptonshire’s pursuit was scuppered almost single-handedly by Bess, who ran out Adam Rossington for 24 with a direct hit from cover before having Ricardo Vasconcelos caught at cover by Lyth for 16 with his second ball.
Next over, both Nabi and Parnell perished in the deep when trying to hit the England off-spinner for sixes and Saif Zaib was dismissed in similar fashion for four two overs later, Stoneman taking the catch off Thompson.
Ballance’s direct hit from short fine leg ran out Charlie Thurston for four and the rest of Northamptonshire’s batting crumbled to Fisher, who took 2-25. Keogh top-scored for the visitors with 36.
“I really enjoyed it,” said Stoneman. “It all came around pretty quickly from getting a phone call at 1pm yesterday on the way to training with Surrey.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity, and it was nice to get a score on the board and a couple of decent partnerships with the lads. I’ve been welcomed with open arms. It’s a great opportunity for me, and the club saw the chance to bring me in and use my experience and skillset. It’s the perfect balance really.”