Yorkshire played against Lancashire once in each of the first two seasons of the 20-overs competition but the two rivals have met twice a year ever since. Many of the games have been televised and there has always been a very special atmosphere in the evening events with sell-out experiences being a common occurrence. The consequence of this is that there have been several exciting games and Paul Dyson describes one of them.

June 6, 2014 at Old Trafford: Lancashire 179-6 in 20 overs (PJ Horton 60, TC Smith 55); Yorkshire 180-5 in 19.3 overs (AJ Finch 88, AZ Lees 36). Yorkshire won by five wickets.

This game took place in the 12th season of T20 cricket and neither of the Roses counties had yet to experience success. Both counties had been beaten finalists on one occasion – Lancashire in 2005 and Yorkshire in 2012. The hosts had begun the 2014 season in excellent form, winning four and losing one of their opening five matches but Yorkshire’s three games had resulted in a win, a defeat and a no result.

Lancashire won the toss, decided to bat and the openers raced to 58 from 30 balls before Alex Davies was caught off the bowling of Richard Pyrah; he had made only five! It was Tom Smith who had set the pace and he left ten runs later having scored 55 from 28 balls. He had been dismissed by an acrobatic flick-back from Adam Lyth on the boundary so that Aaron Finch could complete the catch. Skipper Paul Horton then kept up the momentum with 60 from 45 balls and he was well-supported by both Jos Buttler and Steven Croft as he propelled his side to 179 for six from their 20 overs. Adil Rashid, with two for 22 from four overs, was the only bowler to emerge with any real credit; in contrast Jack Brooks conceded 42 from his three overs.

Yorkshire lost an early wicket, skipper Andrew Gale being bowled by Kabir Ali in the first over but Australian Aaron Finch and Alex Lees then shared a partnership of 99 from 69 balls to give Yorkshire a real chance of victory, the requirement then being 78 from 45 balls. Lees departed for 36 from 29 balls but Finch, the then holder of the world record innings in an international T20 match, was still at the crease and he continued to display some aggressive stroke-play until he was caught off the bowling of Smith for 88 from 55 balls – an innings which included eight fours and five sixes. He had hit Lancashire’s spinners out of the attack. The equation was now 36 from 21 balls but, in due course, Jonny Bairstow and Richard Pyrah struck 17 from five balls so that their side had won a thrilling run-chase with half an over to spare. However, their task had been made easier by their side being awarded six penalty runs due to Lancashire’s slow over-rate, them no longer daring to bowl their spinners. Ali emerged less damaged by the experience and repeated Rashid’s figures of two for 22.

Despite this setback, Lancashire ended the group stage with ten victories and only two defeats end finished in top place. They defeated Glamorgan in the quarter-final – just – by one run, Hampshire comfortably in the semi-final but lost to Warwickshire in the final by only four runs. Yorkshire had finished in fifth place in the group stage just one point from qualification.

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