Leicestershire Foxes v Yorkshire Vikings
Vitality Blast, North Group
Friday June 25 2021, 6.30pm
Uptonsteel County Ground, Grace Road

Toss: Leicestershire won it and elected to bat.

Teams: Leicestershire – Steel, Inglis w, Lilley, Ackermann c, Hill, Patel, Kimber, Mike, Parkinson, Naveen, Griffiths.

Yorkshire – Lyth, Tattersall w, Root c, Ballance, Brook, Hill, Thompson, Waite, Fisher, Bess, Ferguson.

Match summary: Yorkshire suffered their second Vitality Blast defeat of the season as Leicestershire comfortably defended their imposing total of 207-3. Arron Lilley smashed a career best 99 not out for the Foxes before the Vikings replied with 173 all out. Left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson claimed 4-35.

Report: An off night with the ball and in the field gave Yorkshire too much to do later in the game as Leicestershire consigned the pre-game leaders to only a second defeat in eight North Group games, by 34 runs with one ball to spare.

The positive is that results elsewhere largely went in the Vikings favour, and they are now joint top with Notts on 11 points from eight games.

Notts have a marginally better net run-rate after a third tie of the competition tonight, against Derbyshire, and sit top.

Having lost the toss, anything which could go wrong seemingly did in the first half of the game for the below par Vikings in good batting conditions.

Only Dom Bess with 0-21 from four overs could reflect on a job well done, with the rest of Yorkshire’s six-man attack going at over 10 runs per over.

Their tormentor in chief was Arron Lilley, the all-rounder who effectively bats as a pinch-hitter at number three in this format.

He clobbered nine fours and four sixes in 55 balls, falling narrowly short of a maiden century.

He shared 75 for the second wicket with Scott Steel (32) from 24-1 in the third over and 90 for the third with captain Colin Ackermann, who made 40.

Yorkshire’s forgettable performance in the field was summed up at the start of the 17th over when Jonny Tattersall failed to hold a Lockie Ferguson slower ball and let it through for four byes.

Ackermann then lofted the next ball high to deep mid-wicket, where Jordan Thompson took a juggling catch only to step on the boundary rope and concede six.

In reply, Adam Lyth’s 22 gave Yorkshire a bright start at 32-0 after three overs, but he and opening partner Tattersall were out to Callum Parkinson in the fourth – caught at point and lbw.

Parkinson later had Joe Root caught at backward point off a full toss for 15 (78-3 in the ninth) and Yorkshire were falling behind the rate.

Ballance played on to Steel’s off-spin for an innings high 34 shortly afterwards and George Hill also fell – 103-5 in the 14th over. Yorkshire still needed 105.

Wednesday’s Worcester heroes Harry Brook and Thompson united, but they weren’t able to turn it around and were removed by Parkinson and seamer Gavin Griffiths as the score fell to 127-7 in the 16th.

And that was all but game up for the Vikings, whose target later became 58 off the last two at 150-8 and then 44 off the last.

Ben Mike claimed two wickets in the last over, including Bess for 24.

Turning point: Lockie Ferguson conceded 14 off his first over, the last of the power play. He bowled three full tosses, including one at Scott Steel which brought a warning from umpire Neil Bainton. It left Leicester 63-1 after six and unfortunately opened the floodgates.

A not so magic moment!: You had to feel a touch for Arron Lilley, who was 87 not out at the start of the last over of the Leicester innings, bowled by Matthew Fisher. He pulled the penultimate ball for four to move to 98 and thought it was six off the bat, only for it to fall a yard or two short of the boundary. He could then only get one off the last ball.

Stat: Only seven overs in the Leicestershire innings were limited to single-figure scores, giving Yorkshire’s batsmen a mountain to climb in pursuit.

What they said: Coach Andrew Gale – “All round, we didn’t bring our A game.

“It was disappointing given the good form and confidence we’ve had. But if you’re slightly off in this format against whoever, it will bite you.

“I don’t think it was so much our plans (with the ball), it was more execution. Whenever we went for a wide yorker, we were a little bit off it. Whenever we went for a slower ball into the pitch, we put it on their tee.

“We had 15 extras and a catch we should have caught which was six. All these things add up, and you’d probably say they were 25 or 30 over par.

“It was a good pitch, and we knew we could chase down 180. But once it got over 200, you have to produce something special. We have the players to do that. Unfortunately we never got going.”

What’s next: Yorkshire are straight back to it. They face two-time champions Northamptonshire at Emerald Headingley tomorrow (6.30pm), the second part of a T20 double header.

In the afternoon (2.30pm), the Northern Diamonds face the Thunder in a ‘Roses’ opener to the T20 Charlotte Edwards Cup.

A sixth win in nine games would ensure Yorkshire take a giant step towards quarter-final qualification.

Yorkshire will not have Joe Root available for the match due to England’s Covid protocols ahead of their one-day international series against Sri Lanka next week. Adam Lyth will captain.

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