Yorkshire’s Vitality Blast campaign all but came to a soggy ending at Emirates Old Trafford this evening, with coach Ottis Gibson speaking of his frustration.
The Vikings needed to win their final North Group game against Lancashire Lightning to keep alive their hopes of back-to-back Finals Day appearances and a third overall. But rain in Manchester prevailed, leaving Gibson to reflect on disappointment.
Persistent rain throughout the day failed to stop, and umpires Michael Gough and Graham Lloyd called a halt to proceedings just after 8.40pm.
It means Yorkshire finish the campaign with 14 points from as many games, including six wins, six defeats and a pair of No Results. The No Results have both come on the last two Fridays, including against Durham at the Seat Unique Riverside.
Look at the North Group table, and there is a way fifth-placed Yorkshire could still finish fourth.
Unfortunately, it would be an escape not even Harry Houdini could dream of.
It would first of all require Nottinghamshire to suffer a landslide defeat at home to Leicestershire on Sunday, thus rectifying a massive net run-rate swing in the Outlaws’ favour. Added to that, below Yorkshire, it would require Derbyshire to lose at home to Worcestershire and Northamptonshire to fail to win at Lancashire.
Gibson said: “It’s been frustrating. At the start of the season when we sat down as a group and decided what our goals were, this competition was one we spoke a lot about.
“The fact we got to Finals Day last year for the first time had everybody very optimistic we could do the same.
“Our overseas Shan Masood and David Wiese along with Benny Mike and some of the young guys we brought in gave us the feeling we could do really well.
“We didn’t start very well – the first three games we lost. Then we found our mojo in the middle period and had six unbelievable wins. At the back end, we somehow lost our way again.
“For it to finish the way it has tonight probably sums it up in a way.”
The former West Indian T20 World Cup-winning coach continued: “It gives us a lot of food for thought going forwards in terms of what we need next year.
“The North Group is a tough group to get out of, but we have to be better.”
Dawid Malan finished as Yorkshire’s leading run-scorer with 546. As things stand, he is amongst the top three leading run-scorers in the competition.
Jordan Thompson finished as the county’s leading wicket-taker with 20 – his best ever return in a Blast summer.
“Malan is the outstanding batter in the North Group, and we’re very lucky to have him in our team. He’s been fantastic all year,” said Gibson.
“I still like the fact we were able to expose Will Luxton to the Blast this year, James Wharton as well – he came in and scored a fantastic hundred. They’re two guys who will feature more for us.
“On the bowling front, Jafer Chohan has come in and been exciting. For me, he’s the find of the season for us in the Blast.”
Gibson was asked about areas for improvement ahead of 2024 in T20 cricket, and he highlighted one in particular.
“One of the things I’ve spoken to the bowlers about is that we know Headingley is a high-scoring ground,” he said.
“If everybody can try and go at under 10s – eight is an over is the benchmark I try to operate at. I’d have to say some of our seamers are a little above that eight an over threshold. That’s something we need to work on.
“Whilst we’re disappointed we’re not moving forward, there’s still a lot of good things that happened this year that will give us a lot of optimism for next season.”
Yorkshire are next in action a week on Monday when they travel to New Road to face Worcestershire in their next LV= Insurance County Championship fixture.
Captain Shan Masood is unavailable because of international duty, meaning Jonny Tattersall will step into the role for this and the two Championship matches which follow before Masood’s return at the end of July.
Gibson added: “At the start of the year, Tatts was going to be that guy. He picked up an injury, and if Shan isn’t going to be here Jonny will take over the reins as captain and lead the team.”