David Willey says Yorkshire must smarten up if they are to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Vitality Blast.

Willey was frustrated with the way the Vikings missed an opportunity in last night’s Roses clash at Emerald Headingley, with Lancashire defending a 171 target to win by nine runs.

It was Yorkshire’s second defeat from four North Group matches, added to a No Result against Notts, defeat at Derbyshire and a win at Leicestershire.

Yorkshire had their chances to beat Lancashire.

The visitors posted 170-6, but only scored 32 from the last five overs. In reply, Yorkshire were handily placed at 78-2 in the 10th over and 131-4 early in the 17th with Nicholas Pooran set, only to slip to 161-9.

On Sunday, the Vikings face Willey’s home county Northamptonshire at Wantage Road, starting at 2.30pm. It is “a massive game”, according to the all-rounder.

“At the halfway stage, I think Lancashire were a few under par,” he said. “We did well to claw it back.

“Then it was a disappointing chase and one we should have won.

“Personally, I feel like we can just be a bit smarter.

“We lost wickets consistently throughout, which makes it very difficult.

“Had we made some smarter choices, we could keep pressure on their bowlers. When you do that, you naturally get boundaries and probably cruise home.

“Our record batting first at home is brilliant, but we’re not great chasing. We have to look at why.

“And what I’ve just said there is a big part of it.

“We have to take some responsibility and make smarter choices when we’re chasing a game.

“Maybe you’ve got to put your ego away at times.

“There are two games there we should have won – Derby and Lancashire.

“Those two games, we’ve not played anywhere near our best cricket and still got close, which is good in one sense. But we need to learn quickly.

“We were a bit sloppy in the field (against Lancashire), which probably cost us 10-15 runs. Those one or two percenters across the board cost us.”

One significant positive was the debut of 22-year-old off-spinner Jack Shutt, whose first three overs bowling at the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Liam Livingstone yielded two wickets and cost him only 14 runs.

His last over cost 17, but Willey enthused: “It was a great start for him.

“To come into what is probably the biggest game of the year for Yorkshire, he bowled beautifully under pressure. I can’t fault him.

“He trusted himself and was brave. That’s a great sign.”

In Tuesday’s 54-run win over Leicestershire, Willey was exceptional with the ball in a high-scoring game, returning 0-23 from four overs as the Foxes chased 256 on a batting friendly pitch and totalled 201-4.

He said: “It was a great performance all round, so to come home and play like we did (against Lancashire) is disappointing. Twenty20 is a game of fine margins. Five runs here and there doesn’t seem like much, but it is.”

Northamptonshire, who Willey left ahead of 2016, will bid for their first win from their third game against Birmingham Bears tonight (FRIDAY).

Willey, who cramped up during his innings of 32 against the Lightning, added: “It’s always nice to go back, and it seems to bring out the best in my game. Hopefully I can contribute to a win because we need to start winning games.

“It’s a massive game. Win that and we’ll be in a decent spot again.

“If we keep learning from the wins and losses and keep building as a group, we’ll be fine.”

Pooran plays the last game of his overseas spell on Sunday.

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