Yorkshire are brimming with confidence, according to Jordan Thompson, as they head to Leicestershire tomorrow bidding to consolidate top spot in the Vitality Blast North Group.
The Vikings are aiming for a sixth win in eight games at the Uptonsteel County Ground, Grace Road (6.30pm).
All-rounder Thompson and sixth-wicket partner Harry Brook were the heroes of last night’s come from behind win over Worcestershire at Emerald Headingley when Yorkshire were 15-4 and posted 191-5.
They shared a Blast record sixth-wicket partnership of 141 in 56 balls, with Brook making 83 not out and Thompson 66 not out.
As well as performances, Thompson says Yorkshire’s confidence comes from a clarity in individuals roles within their side, something which has absent in years gone by.
In many ways, despite still being disrupted by player availability, the Vikings have found a significant sense of calm amidst the madness of England call-ups and injuries.
A shining example came against Worcester when opener Tom Kohler-Cadmore was ruled out with a broken finger and was replaced at the top of the order by busy Jonny Tattersall.
Down the order, the Vikings possess players with more power than Tattersall who could have been elevated. Instead, they opted to leave them in roles where they have enjoyed recent success and give Tattersall the chance to impress.
“We’ve now lost four batsmen,” said Thompson, who has helped Yorkshire close in on a first quarter-final berth since 2016 – they must finish in the top four places after 14 games.
“We’ve lost Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan, which was expected.
“But now we’ve lost Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Will Fraine to injury in a couple of days. Joe Root’s there, which is great.
“To have a big shake up in the batting order is never nice in any form of cricket. But we’re looking around and know who is going to replace each other.
“Everyone who comes in knows exactly what they’re doing and they fit in perfectly.
“To come out and get 190 when we were 15-4, it shows we can bat all the way down.
“The last few years have been building up to where we were able to have a strong, set team. Every single person in that changing room knows what is expected of them.”
Thompson heads to Leicester on the back of what he describes as “the best innings I’ve ever played”.
Realistically, the Worcester win was also one of Yorkshire’s best ever in T20 cricket.
“We certainly go there (Leicester) as a confident bunch,” said the 24-year-old.
“But they’ve hit a run of form in the last couple of games, and we can’t take them lightly. They nearly chased down our 240 last week!
“It will be a tight game, as T20 cricket always is.”
Having lost their first five games in the North Group, the Foxes have won their last two – away against Northamptonshire and Derbyshire.
Former Yorkshire junior Josh Inglis, their now Australian overseas player and an ex-team-mate of Thompson’s, scored an unbeaten century in Sunday win over Northants when they posted 200-2 and defended it.
Their other overseas player, the Afghanistan fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq, is amongst the competition’s leading wicket-takers with 13.
Last September, Yorkshire lost off the last ball at Grace Road as they failed to defend 189.
Thompson smashed 44 off 19 balls at the end of the Vikings 188-6 before, in his own words, “giving it them back with my bowling!”
That is one area which Thompson is aiming to improve.
He may be Yorkshire’s joint leading wicket-taker with 10 in this season’s Blast alongside New Zealand overseas quick Lockie Ferguson, but his economy rate is 10.25 runs per over.
He added: “I’m not bowling as well as I’d like.
“My economy rate’s a bit too high, and it’s just about me getting into and out of overs, getting my lengths right and being clear on what I want to do.”
Tom Kohler-Cadmore misses the game with a broken finger, whilst Will Fraine is also sidelined with a side strain.
13-man squad to take on Leicestershire Foxes
Joe Root (Captain)
A look at the opposition – Leicestershire Foxes
Coach: Paul Nixon
Captain: Colin Ackermann
Last Year’s Performance: Quarter-finalists
2020 Leading Runscorer: Aaron Lilley (278 @ 30.88)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Gavin Griffiths (10
18.00), Callum Parkinson (10 21.00).
Overseas players: Naveen-ul-Haq (Afghanistan – whole tournament), Josh Inglis (Australia – whole tournament).
Key man: Colin Ackermann – Leicestershire’s world-record holder – the only bowler to take seven wickets in a T20 innings – remains the county’s mainstay in all formats.
Flies under the radar: Gavin Griffiths – Joint leading wicket-taker in 2021, the Lancastrian pace bowler has 32 T20 wickets in four seasons since moving to the Uptonsteel County Ground.
Best Player Under 24: Naveen-ul-Haq – Only 21 years old, the Afghanistan fast bowler has already played in eight T20Is and seven ODIs. Known for his unusual action and an array of slower balls.
Blast expectations: Bottom of the North Division in 2019, Leicestershire surprised even themselves last year by almost reaching Finals Day for the first time since 2011. The Foxes squeezed into the knock-out stage with wins against Nottinghamshire and Lancashire before an unlucky exit in a low-scoring quarter-final against the eventual champions at Trent Bridge, when a last-ball misfield cruelly eliminated Leicestershire on the tie-breaker of runs scored in the Powerplay. Whether they can go one better this season remains to be seen but overseas pair Naveen-ul-Haq and Josh Inglis come with good stats in the format, while Scott Steel, their signing from Durham, had an outstanding 2019, including a 30-ball 70 against the Foxes at Grace Road. They will hope at least to be in contention.
The Key Statistics
• Yorkshire’s win at Leicester in 2019 was their first in a T20 match away to Leicestershire since 2012.
• Each county has passed 200 twice in T20 matches between these two counties; the first two occurrences were at Headingley in 2004 and the second two both in 2019’s match at Leicester.
• In 2004 Darren Maddy scored 111 at Headingley and this remains the highest innings in a T20 match for any opponent against Yorkshire.
• In 2013 Jack Brooks took five for 21 for Yorkshire at Headingley in this series but no Leicestershire bowler has even taken four wickets in a match against Yorkshire, its best being three for three by Jigar Naik at Headingley in 2011.
• Two Yorkshire bowlers (Jack Brooks five for 21 in 2013 and Adil Rashid four for 20 in 2010, both at Headingley) have taken at least four wickets in an innings in a T20 match between these two counties but no one has done so for Leicestershire, the best for it being three for three b. Jigar Naik at Headingley in 2011.
HOW TO FOLLOW
There will also be a match blog on the website, and the clips available via the match centre. Highlights will also be available after the game.