Joe Root and Harry Brook both hit fabulous half-centuries in an unbroken stand of 91 for the fifth wicket as Yorkshire ended 2020 on a high with a memorable Vitality Blast win over Derbyshire at Emerald Headingley – by six wickets off the last ball.
Chasing 168, the Vikings, on the back of four straight North Group defeats, slipped to 80-4 in the 12th over, only for England’s Test captain and 21-year-old Brook to steer them home in an 8.2-over partnership.
Root finished with 60 off 50 balls as the equation became nine off the last over, while Brook, who needed to get one off the last ball against seamer Dustin Melton, hit the winning runs to reach 50 off 29.
While Root’s fifty was his fourth in five Blast innings this summer, Brook was the one who provided the impetus from number six in the order and took the lead role late on to post his first career fifty in 25 games.
Yorkshire finish with three wins from 10 Blast games.
Derbyshire posted 167-6, including opener Tom Wood’s meaty career best 67 off 48 balls and Ben Coad’s 3-40 from four overs – also a career best.
The Falcons would have been frustrated with their total following the platform set at 100-0 after 12 overs through Wood and Billy Godleman.
Wood muscled his maiden T20 fifty, scooping an early six off Coad and slog-sweeping a maximum off Root to reach 50 off 31 balls.
Godleman played the supporting role with 49 off 39, and with those together and going well the Vikings could have been chasing much closer to 200.
However, things were dragged back expertly as Coad, Jordan Thompson, Adam Lyth, Root and Duanne Olivier all bowled important overs.
Coad led the way during the second half of the innings with his first three-for in 12 T20 appearances.
Having conceded 25 in his first two overs, the 26-year-old returned to remove Wood caught at deep mid-wicket pulling, Wayne Madsen caught at mid-off and Matt Critchley caught at cover.
Wood and Godleman shared 109 inside 14 overs, with Root making the initial breakthrough to get rid of the latter.
Coad then removed Wood in the 17th over before Thompson had Leus du Plooy caught behind by 20-over debutant wicketkeeper Ben Birkhead with the last ball of the 18th (150-3).
Madsen fell for 23 midway through the 19th, sharply caught at mid-off by Lyth.
That was the first of three wickets to fall in the last 10 balls of the Derby innings as Yorkshire squeezed and prevented the boundaries.
Coad had Critchley two balls after Madsen’s departure before Olivier removed Alex Hughes in the last over – caught at deep square-leg pulling.
Yorkshire can count themselves a touch unfortunate in that a number of aerial shots fell just short of fielders in the deep throughout the 20 overs.
But they would have been pleased with the end result, and even more so when Lyth hit two of the first three balls of the chase through the covers for four off Madsen’s off-spin.
However, Lyth (11) top-edged a catch behind off Sam Conners in the third over as the score fell to 12-1 before Dawid Malan (one) edged the same bowler behind two balls later without further addition.
Will Fraine (11) heaved an early six into the East Stand off Madsen and Root hit successive leg-side boundaries off Conners to get the score ticking, only for the former to chip Melton to mid-wicket towards the end of the sixth over – 41-3.
That score became 65-3 after 10 overs, with 103 more needed, before Thompson smashed Critchley’s leg-spin over long-on for six at the start of the 11th before edging the next ball for four.
But he holed out to long-off against medium pacer Hughes in the 12th, for 26, as the score fell to 80-4.
Root’s presence at the crease kept White Rose hopes high, and Brook found his range quickly.
They took 20 off Luis Reece in the 15th over.
Root hit a six over long-on and then four to move into the forties, while the excellent Brook found the boundary twice as his 19 off 13 at that stage helped Yorkshire to 113-4 with five overs remaining.
Brook hit two more boundaries off seamer Conners as 15 came off the 17th over – 135-4 with 33 more needed.
Brook lofted Melton over long-off for a sumptuous six in the 18th over as the target became 20 off two overs at 148-4.
Root reached his fourth fifty in five Blast innings off 46 balls in the penultimate as the target became nine off six with Brook on strike and Melton bowling.
That then became a single needed off the last ball with Brook on strike, and he lofted Melton over mid-on’s head to reach a maiden fifty off 29 balls and end the summer in style, leading to the in-ground tannoy to belt out Sweet Caroline in celebration following a difficult week.