Will Fraine has hailed the form of opening partner Harry Duke, also admitting he is happy with his own Royal London Cup performances as he prepares to return to the scene of a memorable innings.
Yorkshire travel to Chesterfield to face Derbyshire in their penultimate Group B game tomorrow (11am), the ground where last season Fraine crashed a superb 69 off 32 balls in a rain-affected win that was central to their knockout qualification.
It included his fifty in 19 balls, the county’s fastest ever half-century in List A cricket.
Fraine has posted higher scores for the county in both red and white ball cricket than he did that day, but it is an innings which is instantly recognisable when recounting the 26-year-old’s success stories in a Yorkshire shirt.
Before discussing that innings, however, Fraine heaped praise on his opening partner Duke, with whom he is building a formidable alliance.
In six RL50 games this season, the pair have put on stands of 209, 66, 9, 58, 9 and 118.
They are Yorkshire’s leading run-scorers in the 2022 competition. Duke has 314, including a best of 111, and Fraine 311 with a high of 143.
“Dukey has been excellent,” said Fraine. “He’s been the glue that’s held us together. He tries to bat most of the innings, and lads like myself, Hilly and Tatts, who are a bit more aggressive, take the risks.
“I’m happy with the way I’m playing. It would have been nice to kick on a bit more than I have.
“I got the hundred (143 v Northamptonshire at York) at the start, and I’ve followed it up with a couple of forties and a 68. But I’m aggressive, and I try to strike at pretty much a run-a-ball.
“As long as I stick to my options and play strong shots, that’s the way I want to go.”
Yorkshire head to Chesterfield tomorrow knowing it is realistically a must win game.
They could qualify win one win, but that would involve Essex – they currently hold the all important third place in the group with a one-point lead – Kent and Glamorgan all losing their respective remaining fixtures.
Instead, you would have to think Yorkshire, with a game in hand, have to beat Derbyshire and then Hampshire at Scarborough on Tuesday.
If they do, it doesn’t matter what anyone else does, they will be playing knockout cricket come next Friday.
The Vikings will need to arrest a two-game losing streak having been beaten at Essex and Kent earlier this week, the latter particularly frustrating after the hosts achieved the six they needed off the last ball to chase 297 in 45 overs.
“We did really well against an experienced side to stay in the game after not one of our best starts with the ball,” said Fraine, of the trip to Canterbury.
“Rev was excellent through the middle, Waitey was, and Shutty and Bessy kept us in the game.
“We got in a position to win the game, but fair play to Harry Finch and Grant Stewart, they batted really well. For Stewart to hit a six off the last ball, that’s no mean feat.
“You’re either the hero or the villain. It’s disappointing, but that’s the game.
“We have two more to play, and it’s all to play for.
“We’re showing ourselves that we’re a team to be reckoned with.
“We came really close at Kent. If things go your way, you win that against a team with a number of international cricketers in.
“With a young side, sometimes you’re going to miss in pressure situations. Others you will hit.
“I’m proud of the way we fought. We were so hungry, we were so aggressive in the field. If we can have that energy and drive every game, we’ll win so many times.”
Fraine says himself and his team-mates will not worry about the state of play in Group B when they take to the field against the Falcons tomorrow.
“We’re pretty good at not worrying about, ‘Oh, we need to win two out of two or we need to win two out of three’. We just play to win every game,” he said.
“Every game is a must win when you play for Yorkshire. It’s clear what we need to do.”
Derbyshire sit bottom of the table and are out of contention on three points. They have won two of six games so far, though were subject to a two-point penalty after all-rounder Mattie McKiernan used an illegal bat in an earlier fixture.
They are without batters Wayne Madsen and Leus du Plooy due to the Hundred.
Pakistan overseas batter Shan Masood should be available, despite turning down the offer of a contract extension to play elsewhere in 2023.
As for Fraine, he will be hoping for a repeat of the outcome of last year’s fixture when he led Yorkshire to an eight-wicket win in a 10-overs per side contest following morning and afternoon rain.
The Vikings chased 109 to win with eight balls to spare, with Fraine in blistering form.
“The lads and myself knew I was capable of doing something like that, but it was still nice to prove it and contribute to a win,” he added.
“That’s the best feeling. Winning games for your team is what you strive to do every game.
“That was a great knock. And if it’s rain-affected this time, I’ll try and emulate it!”
Fin Bean, Dom Bess, Ben Coad, Harry Duke (W), Will Fraine, George Hill, Will Luxton, Tom Loten, Mathew Revis, Jack Shutt, Harry Sullivan, Jonny Tattersall ©, Matthew Waite.