The defeat is Yorkshire’s heaviest-ever defeat in short-form cricket and confirmed the 2012’s finalists’ place at the bottom of the Northern Division.
If last week’s loss to Lancashire was a bad day at the office, yesterday was an occasion when the Vikings’ 20-over business collapsed completely and the job for the White Rose squad is to pick itself up quickly for Friday’s vital Division One game against Warwickshire at Headingley.
Sadly for Yorkshire supporters, the basic facts of the game give an accurate impression of its shape. Yorkshire mustered only 105 all out in 17.2 overs, an inadequate total which Leicestershire overhauled in just 12.1 overs, Josh Cobb making 52 not out and Greg Smith an unbeaten 39.
Yorkshire’s innings was a familiar tale of batting failures in short-form cricket with the Vikings batsmen unable to put together any partnerships of substance.
On a slow wicket and against an attack featuring two spinners, perhaps too many of Adam Lyth’s batsmen sought to force the pace and only opener Alex Lees, who made 32 off as many balls, was able to time the ball fluently.
However, the visitors’ innings had begun well with Yorkshire progressing to 51-1 in the ninth over for the loss of only Lyth. That, however, was the prelude to a rapid collapse as the Vikings lost their last nine wickets for 54 runs in eight overs.
Dan Hodgson was the first to go, caught at long on by Tom Wells off Rob Taylor for 11 but Gary Ballance followed quickly when he was bowled by Josh Cobb’s quicker ball for two.
Yorkshire’s decline really gathered pace in the 12th over as Lees was run out off a wide after a mix-up with Jack Leaning and then Will Rhodes was bowled first ball.
The later batsmen were forced to adopt increasingly desperate tactics and none of them really paid off. Leicestershire’s skipper Josh Cobb finished with 3-9 from his four overs while slow left-armer Shakib al Hasan took 2-26. Apart from Lees, only Hodgson, Azeem Rafiq and Lyth reached double figures for the Vikings.
Nor was the Yorkshire attack able to rescue their side against the fluent Leicestershire openers. Most of the bowlers apart from Liam Plunkett and Richard Pyrah leaked runs at an alarming rate with Moin Ashraf conceding 19 off his second over.
Azeem Rafiq’s first six deliveries went for 15 runs and by that stage Leicestershire were 84-0 after nine overs and cruising to the easiest of victories. To make matters worse both openers had been dropped early in their innings, Cobb by Lyth at short cover and Smith at third man by Iain Wardlaw.
“That game summed up the last few weeks for us,” said Plunkett. “We didn’t get enough runs and their openers just came out and blazed it. It’s a bad end to this competition for us.
Preview:“Momentum is vital in every form of the game. In the championship we have momentum but in t20 the games come thick and fast, and if you’re not winning, you’re not confident and you can lose three out of three in a week. But there’s no danger of their being a knock-on effect on Friday’s Division One game against Warwickshire.”
Yorkshire have two targets for tomorrow’s final Friends Life t20 match of 2013 against Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road.
The Vikings are desperate to avoid finishing bottom of the North Division, which looks a tall order given their inferior net run-rate, and want to build confidence ahead of their return to the LV= County Championship arena against Warwickshire on Friday.
Not that they particularly need a confidence booster in the Championship with them top of the league. But, as Jack Brooks put it, “winning’s winning”.
When asked about tomorrow’s clash with Josh Cobb’s Foxes, the ex-Northamptonshire ace said: “It’s massive. It would be nice to take that into the Championship on Friday. It would be nice to get a win and not finish bottom of the league. We still have a lot to play for. The guys are dead keen for it.
“We haven’t played really badly right the way through. We know that if we can get a score on the board, we can defend it.”
Yorkshire’s Twenty20 campaign has definitely been a case of what might have been.
They opened up with a narrow two-wicket loss against Derbyshire at Headingley at the end of June before losing against Durham at Scarborough off the penultimate ball only two days later. Then, in their third game, they tied with Lancashire back at Headingley.
“Maybe if we’d won those two close games early on, the momentum would have gone with us and we could have won a few more,” continued Brooks, who has taken 13 wickets from eight matches this season, including 1-11 from three overs in the defeat against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge last night.
“We’re missing three or four key players from last year. It was probably going to be a big ask for us to repeat last year without the two overseas and the three England lads.”
The form of Brooks with the ball has been one positive from this season’s campaign, as has the all-round form of Rich Pyrah.
Their most economical bowler, going at a rate of 6.13 per over, Pyrah has taken nine wickets from nine matches. He has also taken five catches, including two on Friday, and scored a career best 42 against the Outlaws.
“He’s a fantastic cricketer, and he’s great to have around,” added Brooks.
“He does a job with bat and ball, and he’s a top fielder as well.
“He probably would like to be batting a bit higher up the order. He’s a good player to have around, and hopefully he’ll be at Yorkshire for many years.”
One of Yorkshire’s two North Division wins came against Leicestershire at Headingley earlier this month. Brooks took a career best 5-21 as the Foxes were restricted to just 113-9 having been 67-7. Yorkshire knocked off the runs with seven wickets and 19 balls to spare thanks to Dan Hodgson’s half-century.
Victory for the Foxes over Derbyshire last night means they are two points clear of Yorkshire with a vastly superior net run-rate, the first criteria for separating teams who finish on the same number of points.
The Vikings have named an unchanged squad for their trip to Grace Road.
Yorkshire Vikings 13-man squad v Leicestershire Foxes
If you can’t make it to any of the Friends Life T20 games you can hear ball-by-ball commentary on Yorkshire Radio – Official Media Partner of YCCC with summary from former Yorkshire Captain Anthony McGrath.
You can listen to Yorkshire Radio on DAB across Yorkshire, Sky Channel 0209, on-line atwww.yorkshireradio.netand on free apps for iphone and android smart phones. Plus don’t miss hearing from the squad and management every Monday at 6pm on The Yorkshire Radio Cricket Show.