Lancashire Lightning v Yorkshire Vikings
Vitality Blast, North Group
Saturday July 17, 2021, 5pm
Emirates Old Trafford
Toss: Yorkshire won it and opted to bat first.
Lancashire – Jennings, Allen, Davies, Vilas c&w, Croft, Jones, Wells, Wood, Lamb, Hartley, Hurt.
Yorkshire – Lyth c, Stoneman, Root, Brook, Ballance, Fraine, Thompson, Waite, Bess, Duke w, Fisher.
Match summary: Yorkshire lost a low-scoring clash by four wickets with an over to spare as Lancashire chased down 129 to qualify for the quarter-finals alongside the Vikings. A bowler-dominated game saw no batsman from either side better Joe Root’s 32 off 37 balls in the visitors’ 128-7.
Report: Clearly a disappointing evening across the Pennines as Lancashire avenged the defeat they suffered at Emerald Headingley at the start of July.
But there is a significant silver lining in that, in the grand scheme of things, this had no impact on Yorkshire’s position in the competition.
Before this evening, they had already qualified for the quarter-finals with a top two finish in the North Group.
It would have been a bonus to have knocked Lancashire out, however.
In the end, a low-scoring – attritional, in many ways – fixture went the way of the Red Rose as they chased down 129 following a wobble.
Sheffield-born Luke Wood claimed a career best 4-20 with his left-arm seamers in a Vikings innings including only one six, from Gary Ballance.
He struck twice in two overs at either end of the innings.
In the third over, Wood had Adam Lyth brilliantly caught behind one-handed down leg by Dane Vilas before bowling Mark Stoneman – 11-2.
He later bowled Ballance and had Jordan Thompson caught and bowled in the 17th, leaving Yorkshire at 101-6.
In reply, Lancashire flew out of the blocks at 35-0 after two overs, and the game looked done.
But Yorkshire fought back impressively.
Powerful New Zealander Finn Allen was bowled trying to scoop Matthew Fisher to leg as Lancashire lost five for 27 inside five overs, slipping to 64-5, including Root getting Dane Vilas caught behind sweeping.
Luke Wells (30) and Steven Croft (26 not out) shared 55 to steady the hosts through accumulation.
And both hit sixes as Lancashire reached 112-5 after 17 overs, needing 17 more.
Danny Lamb later hit back-to-back leg-side boundaries off Fisher in the penultimate after Yorkshire, sportingly, opted against running Croft out following what looked like a nasty mid-pitch fall. The umpires called dead ball.
Turning point: Take your pick from a couple.
One came in the third over as Luke Wood removed Adam Lyth and Mark Stoneman, leaving Yorkshire 11-2. It left them with a mountain to climb.
In reply, Lancashire were 35-0 after two overs of their chase, including five fours and two sixes for openers Keaton Jennings and Finn Allen.
In a low-scoring game, that is a huge chunk of runs.
Despite great tenacity later on, Yorkshire just had too much to do to recover.
Magic moment: As much as it pains us to hand this to a Lancashire player, the one-handed catch from wicketkeeper Dane Vilas to help get rid of Adam Lyth in the third over of the match, leaving Yorkshire 10-1, was special.
Lyth got a decent piece of pull at Luke Wood, albeit an edge, and Vilas dived to his right and held on in his right glove. It was one of the better leg-side keeper’s catches you will see.
Stat: Yorkshire hit just one six in their innings, with Gary Ballance pulling the leg-spin of Luke Wells over mid-wicket in the 15th over.
Don’t panic: Yorkshire have dropped outside the top two places in the North Group, and could even slip out of the top four places in some printed tables come tomorrow night. But that would purely be on points gained.
There are very few places which have updated their tables to reflect that the North Group is now being decided on an average points per completed match basis as a result of Derbyshire’s recent Coronavirus issues.
Purely on points gained – 15 – Yorkshire will not finish inside the top two places in the group. However, forget that. It is all about average points.
So divide 15 points by the 13 games the White Rose have gained, and only group winners Nottinghamshire can better their 1.15 average.
What they said: Andrew Gale – “We felt at half-time that we were probably 30 runs short. It wasn’t the shirt front of a pitch that it was last night here (Lancashire v Durham).
“Rooty came off and said, ‘150 and we’re right in the game’.
“We just couldn’t get one guy in and get going.
“They were obviously going to come hard at us in their power play, which would create opportunities. If we could look to take wickets, be brave with our field and field well, you never know.
“We probably didn’t set the tone up front with the ball.
“It was a good game of cricket.
“It’s key we reflect on a what’s been a good campaign for us, finishing second in the group having used, I think, 22 or 23 players and had three captains.
“My experience in T20 says you need experience and continuity in selection. We’ve had neither for a long period of time. The lads have been brilliant.
“Looking ahead to the quarter-final, we’ll get some more players back.”
Dom Leech: There is excellent news on the injury front after he dislocated his left knee in a horrible incident during this week’s Roses Championship clash at Emerald Headingley.
Andrew Gale said: “He’s had an MRI scan, and it’s far better than we thought.
“There’s nothing shown up on the scan in terms of ligament or cartilage damage. He might be bowling again in two or three weeks.”
What’s next: This was Yorkshire’s final Blast group game and are now through to the quarter-finals, which will be played between August 24-27 following the Hundred.
The Vikings now begin their Royal London one-day Cup campaign. Their opener is against Surrey at Scarborough on Thursday. Prior to that, they face Northumberland in a National Counties friendly at the same venue on Tuesday (11am).