Leicestershire Foxes v Yorkshire Vikings
Vitality Blast, North Group
Sunday July 3, 2022, 2.30pm
The Uptonsteel County Ground, Grace Road
Toss: Yorkshire won it and elected to bowl.
Teams: Leicestershire – Welch, Hill w, Lilley, Ackermann c, Mulder, Patel, Kimber, Mike, Ahmed, Parkinson, ul-Haq.
Yorkshire – Lyth, Allen, Kohler-Cadmore w, Malan, Brook, Willey c, Khan, Thompson, Hill, Revis, Bess.
Match summary: Yorkshire qualified for the quarter-finals of the Blast despite defeat at Leicestershire, benefiting from a decision off the field to advance.
The day started with this fixture as a winner goes through affair, the teams separated by a point in the North Group table, with the Vikings inside the top four and the Foxes out of it.
But, at 11.15am, the ECB announced that Leicester had been deducted two points due to poor on-field discipline, confirming their exit and Yorkshire’s progression through to the last eight, where we will play South Group winners Surrey at the Oval later this week.
On the field, the Foxes won – for the fifth game in a row – by 60 runs in many ways increasing their frustration.
Captain Colin Ackermann starred with bat and ball, hitting a measured 72 in their 211-7 before taking 2-21 from four overs with his off-spinners as the Vikings struggled in response to 151-9.
Report: Another run-fest was expected. As Yorkshire and Birmingham traded scores of 200 plus at Headingley on Friday, so did Leicestershire and Northamptonshire on this ground. Unfortunately, the Vikings were unable to match the Foxes’ effort.
Leicester were given a rapid start via opener Nick Welch, who crashed five sixes in 46 off 23 balls.
George Hill struck in the first over, getting namesake Lewis caught at mid-off (8-1), but runs came freely as the hosts’ top four – Hill aside – played confidently on a pitch with good pace and carry.
Ackermann’s was the standout innings, though strangely did not include a six, and he shared 55 for the third wicket with Arron Lilley (35), advancing the score from 51-2 after five after Matthew Revis had removed Welch caught at deep mid-wicket.
The innings freewheeled to 128-3 after 13 overs until Willey struck twice in as many balls in the 14th, getting Wiaan Mulder caught at mid-off and Ben Mike caught and bowled.
They were two of three wickets to fall for 11 runs as the score went from 131-3 in the 14th over to 142-6 in the 16th, with Revis striking again to get rid of Rishi Patel caught at deep cover.
Revis (2-32) and Willey with his 3-29 were the pick of the bowlers. And after 16 overs, the Vikings were very much ahead with their hosts 146-6.
But 65 came from the last four. Ackermann contributed heavily, as did Louis Kimber with 30 off 11 balls. The latter was Willey’s third victim.
Twenty four runs came off one over from Jordan Thompson, including two sixes for Kimber, but Yorkshire remained very much in the game at the halfway stage.
The Vikings only took 11 off the first two overs of the reply, though things changed quickly as Lyth made hay on a ground where he once scored a Championship double century.
He hit two sixes and got another six runs courtesy of overthrows on the way to a fifth competition fifty in 2022, off 24 balls. By that time, Yorkshire were 70-0 in the sixth.
Unfortunately, he fell the ball after reaching fifty, courtesy of Rehan Ahmed’s fine catch running back from short fine-leg off Naveen-ul-Haq (70-1).
Finn Allen and then Tom Kohler-Cadmore both then fell cheaply to spin quickly after the powerplay as the score became 86-3 in the ninth over; Allen caught at cover off left-armer Callum Parkinson and Kohler-Cadmore caught at long-off against Ahmed’s leggies.
The Vikings reached halfway at 99-3, needing 113 more to win in 10 overs.
Dawid Malan (19) then played on against Ackermann’s off-spin in the 11th over before Willey was trapped lbw sweeping in the same bowler’s next as the score became 117-5 in the 13th.
It was a costly period for the Vikings, whose task was now an uphill one.
And it proved to be a task they couldn’t achieve, with wickets falling quickly.
Harry Brook was caught at long-off against Mulder’s seam for 21, the same bowler getting Thompson caught behind next ball – 124-7 in the 15th over.
Khan then fell to superb 17-year-old Ahmed, as did Revis, and by the time the last over started, Yorkshire were 146-9, needing 66 more. Ahmed finished with 3-17 from four overs.
Turning point: Yorkshire lost three wickets for 31 in four overs to fall from 86-2 in the ninth to 117-5 in the 13th. Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Dawid Malan and David Willey all fell to spin, the latter two to the offies of Foxes captain Colin Ackermann, who had a super game.
Magic moment: In the fourth over of Yorkshire’s chase, Adam Lyth eased Mulder over cover for six, taking the score to 32-0 and him to 27. It was a glorious shot.
Pre-match drama: Yorkshire’s quarter-final qualification was confirmed off the field this morning rather than on it this afternoon.
This was supposed to be a match which decided qualification, a winner takes all affair for a place in the quarter-finals. Leicestershire, in sixth, sat one point behind Yorkshire in fourth place (Northamptonshire in fifth had already finished their programme of matches so were eliminated).
However, at 11.15am, the ECB announced the Foxes had been deducted two points due to poor on-field discipline. They had a suspended penalty dating back to last August which would be invoked with further issues. And there were two incidents in Friday’s home game with Northamptonshire involving Arron Lilley and Naveen-ul-Haq.
Hence, the two-point deduction for the Foxes confirmed Yorkshire’s quarter-final qualification.
What they said: Captain David Willey – “We’re lucky to be through. If they hadn’t have been docked two points, we wouldn’t be through at all.
“Our performances the last two games, particularly with the ball, have been well below par. Going into the quarter-final, we’ve got to play better than we have done.
“If we are going to go further in the competition, we have to be honest with ourselves as a bowling unit and not make excuses.
“If you’re not and don’t execute, you’ll get found out. If you miss, you’ll get punished. It’s as simple as that. We’ve missed too many times.
“They bowled better than us, and there’s a lot of pressure on the batters when you’re chasing 200.
“We’re going to miss some England boys (for Surrey).
“But the eleven who take the field have got to stand up for the bloke next to them. That’s the attitude I want from us week in, week out when we play T20 cricket.”
What’s next: Yorkshire will travel to the Oval to face South Group winners Surrey in the quarter-finals. The exact date and time will be confirmed in due course, maybe as early as this evening. But the coaching staff and players are preparing for a Wednesday fixture.
The Vikings will be missing captain David Willey, Harry Brook and Dawid Malan due to England duty. But Finn Allen is available.