Jordan Thompson believes a win over Vitality Blast pacesetters Birmingham Bears at Headingley tomorrow (6.30pm) could prove to be the perfect springboard for Yorkshire’s quarter-final push over the next fortnight. 

The Vikings currently sit sixth in the North Group table on eight points having won four and lost four of their eight games so far.

With six games to go, they sit sixth in the table, a point behind fourth-placed Northamptonshire Steelbacks.

As per usual, the top four teams in each of the North and South Groups qualify for the quarter-finals, and the race is jam-packed.

Birmingham are in a strong position having won six of eight games so far, including beating Yorkshire by four wickets chasing 146 at Edgbaston last month. They sit on 12 points, two clear of second-placed Lancashire. 

Yorkshire in sixth place are only two points behind the Red Rose county, with Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Durham all sandwiched in between. 

Jordan Thompson

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Jordan Thompson celebrates dismissing Lancashire’s Chris Green during last month’s Roses win at Headingley.

Before leaving Chesterfield on Tuesday, where Yorkshire beat Derbyshire in the County Championship, coach Ottis Gibson spoke of three more wins possibly being enough to qualify the Vikings.

All-rounder Thompson said: “Playing Birmingham is always tough. They’re a very experienced T20 side, with good players right the way through the eleven.

“We’re going to have to be right on it, and hopefully a win can start a bit of a run.”

Albeit a different format, Yorkshire will head into the clash brimming with confidence given they have just won back-to-back Championship games against Gloucestershire at Scarborough and then Derbyshire at Chesterfield. Both were sealed by an innings inside three days. 

However, reflecting on T20 alone, the Vikings head into this clash with the Bears on the back of a frustrating defeat against Durham at Seat Unique Riverside last time out (June 21).

They lost by three runs chasing a 171 target and slipped from a position of significant strength at 113-2 in the 12th over. Later, with four wickets in hand, they failed to get eight off the last over and finished on 167-7.

Jordan Thompson

Picture by John Mallett. Jordan Thompson with the bat during this season’s Blast.

When Thompson fell for one, caught and bowled by leg-spinner Nathan Sowter running back towards mid-on, it left Yorkshire at 130-5 at the start of the 16th over. 

He said: “Looking at that game, I take a lot of responsibility for that chase. 

“From where we were, I played a pretty average shot and put us in a bit of trouble. 

“We should have still knocked it off, but we panicked a little bit.

“We’re four (wins) and four (losses). We’d obviously like to be five and three. That would have been the perfect scenario. But we have six big games to come now. It’s exciting.”

Thompson, 27, is having an impressive campaign with the ball.

Joe Root

Picture by David Rogers/Getty Images. Yorkshire will be without Joe Root, who is returning to Test Match duty next week. Birmingham will also be without Chris Woakes for the same reason.

He has taken 13 wickets from the eight matches, with a best of 4-31. He is Yorkshire’s leading wicket-taker.

He has struck in each of his last six outings with his seam.

His only off day coming in the defeat against Leicestershire at Grace Road at the end of May when he conceded 30 runs in his only over as the hosts raced to a target of 152.

He has passed both 100 career T20 appearances during this campaign as well as 100 wickets. Incidentally, he is also 35 short of 1,000 career T20 runs.

“The proud thing for me – take that over at Leicester out – is that my economy rate has dropped a bit from where it has been,” he said. 

“I’m happy with where I am with my T20 bowling. 

Jordan Thompson

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Jordan Thompson celebrates the Roses win at Headingley last month.

“Look, you’re always going to get it wrong in this format at some point. No one is going to get it right for eight games straight and go at six an over. 

“As a seamer nowadays, it’s pretty much impossible.

“I play a big role with the ball, and bowling some of the hardest overs is challenging. But it’s something I always love to stand up to.

“Getting us over the line against Lancs was nice. It’s always great to get a win against those boys. 

“Back-to-back against them at home now over the last two years. 

“We put in a really good performance against them, and the crowd was going that night. Hopefully there’s a few more to come over the next six games.”

Shan Masood

Picture by David Rogers/Getty Images. Shan Masood is likely to be the man to replace Joe Root in Yorkshire’s line-up given he missed their last match at Durham because of concussion.

Bears have won on each of their last two visits to Headingley, in 2022 and 2023.

They are captained by wicketkeeper-opener Alex Davies and have fielded two Pakistani overseas fast bowlers, Hassan Ali and Aamir Jamal, so far in this season’s competition. 

They have also just signed New Zealand fast bowler Zak Foulkes as another overseas – he has been playing league cricket for Lytham in Lancashire – and he could debut against the Vikings.

Sam Hain is their leading run-scorer with 297 from eight matches, including three fifties, while left-arm spinner Danny Briggs is their leading wicket-taker with 13.

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