Northamptonshire played in the Midland Group for the first seven years of the T20 competition but became part of the North Group in 2010 and then became one of Yorkshire’s regular opponents. The two counties have played at Northampton on seven previous occasions and Paul Dyson looks back at a game played eight years ago. The photo of Joe Sayers comes courtesy of Brian Sanderson.

July 1, 2011 at Northampton: Yorkshire 144 in 20 overs (JJ Sayers 44, A Lyth 30, AJ Hall 4-23), Northamptonshire 132-7 in 20 overs (AJ Wakely 38, RI Newton 37). Yorkshire won by 12 runs.

The 2010 competition had seen Northamptonshire finish fourth in the North Group but be knocked out at the quarter-final stage. Yorkshire had finished sixth (out of nine). Neither county had yet reached the final in the first eight years of the format.

This was the 11th match of Yorkshire’s 2011 campaign. Their previous ten games had resulted in only three victories and five defeats so it looked as though they would again have difficulty in qualifying for the next stage. Northamptonshire, meanwhile, had an even worse record: of their nine games they had won a mere solitary match and lost six.

The home side won the toss and asked Yorkshire to bat. They had early success with the wicket of skipper Andrew Gale, who gave an easy catch to mid-on, but Joe Sayers (44 from 34 balls) and Adam Lyth (30 from 18) then shared a stand of 71 from only 40 balls and, at 87 for two from 10.2 overs, the visitors were in the box seat. Unfortunately, the remainder of the batting order failed to build on this; three wickets fell for ten runs, later four fell for nine and when Ryan Sidebottom was run out from the final ball of the 20th over Yorkshire were all out for 144. Skipper Andrew Hall caused the first collapse, dismissing Lyth, who gave a comfortable catch to mid-off, Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance. He finished with four for 23, Lee Daggett taking two for 22.

Northamptonshire struggled from the start of their innings. Sidebottom began with a rarity in this format – a maiden – and it was not until the tenth ball that a run was scored. Ajmal Shahzad trapped Bilal Shafayat for a duck and the home side were reeling at four for two. However, Alex Wakely (38 from 33) and Rob Newton (37 from 31) made good progress and when their stand of 49 was broken the target was 69 from seven overs. Johan Botha was run-out when backing up and the five bowlers continued to make sure that Northamptonshire were always behind the required run-rate and they ended up 12 runs short. This was despite having wickets in hand, them losing only seven in the process. Sidebottom’s two wickets cost only 18 runs; Shahzad took two for 22.

Northamptonshire’s wretched campaign continued in a similar way and they finished bottom of the group with only two wins from their 16 games. Yorkshire’s final position was identical to that achieved in the previous season, them winning six matches and losing seven.

Man of the match

Joe Sayers, despite the outstanding bowling of Ryan Sidebottom, won the match award for making the game’s top score; his enterprising innings had set the tone for the first part of Yorkshire’s innings and his stand with Lyth eventually proved to be the crucial passage of play which determined the outcome of the result.

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