Leicestershire Foxes v Yorkshire Vikings
Vitality Blast, North Group
Tuesday June 6, 2023, 6.30pm
The Uptonsteel County Ground, Grace Road
Toss: Yorkshire won it and elected to bat.
Teams – Leicestershire: Lewis Hill c, Nick Welch, Arron Lilley, Rishi Patel, Wiaan Mulder, Louis Kimber, Rehan Ahmed, Callum Parkinson, Naveen-ul-Haq, Michael Finan, Josh Hull.
Yorkshire: Adam Lyth, Dawid Malan, Shan Masood c, James Wharton, Jonny Tattersall w, Matthew Revis, Jordan Thompson, David Wiese, Dom Bess, Ben Mike, Jafer Chohan.
Match summary: Yorkshire recovered brilliantly from 78-7 batting first to win their fourth straight match in the Blast, getting up to 156-7 before defending it comfortably as Leicestershire were bowled out for 126 inside 20 overs. David Wiese hit a superb unbeaten 50 off 32 balls before Jordan Thompson claimed a maiden five-wicket haul – 5-21 from 3.3 overs – in a 30-run win.
Report: Yorkshire’s total was revitalised by the efforts of all-rounders young and old, Ben Mike and Wiese, who shared an unbroken 78 in the last 38 balls of the innings for the eighth wicket – a Yorkshire record in T20 cricket.
While veteran Namibia all-rounder Wiese posted his first half-century in Yorkshire colours in his sixth appearance, excellent Mike also recorded his best score as a Vikings, a similarly belligerent 30 off 17 balls.
Mike hit two sixes to Wiese’s one.
The Foxes were then well placed at 73-2 in the 11th over of their chase, but things changed quickly as they slipped to 84-6 in the 15th. And they failed to recover.
Thompson’s five-for clearly stood out, but leg-spinner Jafer Chohan should take immense credit for his 1-16 from four overs of leg-spin. He also impressed greatly as the hosts stumbled.
Earlier, England’s Ashes hopeful Rehan Ahmed claimed an excellent 3-21 from four overs of leg-spin as the Vikings slipped to 78-7 in the 14th over.
After electing to bat, it proved a nightmare start for Yorkshire.
A trio of batters fell caught off miscues – Dawid Malan, Jonny Tattersall and Jordan Thompson – and Adam Lyth was bowled by Afghanistan seamer Naveen-ul-Haq having shimmied down the pitch to play to leg.
James Wharton, in the side in place of Will Luxton after some excellent second-team form, looked in excellent order for 26, including two sumptuous square driven boundaries off the left-arm seam of Josh Hull.
Hull went on to claim two wickets as Yorkshire slipped to seven down
He had captain Shan Masood, 23, and Matthew Revis caught behind.
From there, Wiese and Mike turned the innings around in grand style, giving themselves and their bowling colleagues something to work with under the lights.
Wiese hit his six over wide long-off as he took full toll on a free hit from left-arm quick Michael Finan, while the first of Mike’s sixes went in the same direction and the other was pulled over square-leg.
Wiese reached his fifty off 30 balls at the start of the final over of the innings, with 69 runs coming from the last five overs.
Wiese then took the new ball at the start of the defence and bowled a maiden to Foxes opener Nick Welch before the same batter edged Dom Bess behind – caught by Tattersall at the second attempt – in the second without scoring, leaving the score at 1-1.
Rishi Patel led a recovery, dominating a 33-stand with Lewis Hill before the latter miscued Thompson towards short third, where Mike took a good running catch – 34-2 in the fifth over.
Patel found another partner in South African Wiaan Mulder, and they were more about accumulation than aggression as the score moved to 64-2 after 10 overs.
But when Thompson trapped Patel lbw for 36 and Chohan bowled a sweeping Louis Kimber in successive overs, Leicester were 77-4 in the 12th over.
And Revis then had Ahmed caught at mid-on following a miscued pull, the Foxes (80-5 in the 13th) had lost three wickets for seven runs in 11 balls to relinquish control.
Mike then had Arron Lilley caught and bowled – 84-6 in the 15th – and at that stage it looked like game over.
Mulder’s presence at the crease was the only significant danger, and when he hoisted Thompson out to deep mid-wicket late in the 18th over – followed by Naveen caught at third-man next ball – it really was all over at 114-8.
Mike had Callum Parkinson caught at third before Thompson wrapped things up in the last by getting Finan caught and bowled.
Magic moment: That winning moment. This was a game which Yorkshire would potentially have lost a fortnight ago when they were on a losing streak and things were going against them. But that feels like a long time ago, and winning has become a habit for captain Masood and co. Long may it continue.
Turning point: You could choose from two. The Wiese-Mike partnership was crucial, absolutely. But ultimately Leicestershire were on course to reel in the 157 target at 73-2 in the 11th. Their loss of three wickets in 11 balls killed their chances and gave Yorkshire another two points in their quest for the quarter-finals.
Stat of the match: All-rounders Wiese and Mike shared a record eighth-wicket partnership for Yorkshire in T20 cricket, their 78 unbroken beating the 54 Tim Bresnan and James Middlebrook shared in defeat against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford in 2015.
What they said – Player of the match David Wiese: “It was just nice to spend a bit of time out there. A lot of the time when I go in, there’s not that many overs left. So to go out there and have a bit of time to just bat and assess the conditions was nice.
“The game kind of dictated that I stayed there until the end, and that’s what I tried to do. As I stayed a bit longer, the runs started to flow a bit easier.
“There were times when the pitch was two-paced, and you never really felt settled. That’s why we said, ‘It’s maybe not that 180 pitch we’re used to at Headingley’. Ben Mike came in and played a fantastic innings to give us some momentum.
“It’s always nice when the ball swings – you give yourself a chance. But I think everybody executed their skills beautifully tonight. It wasn’t one of those wickets where you had to try too much. You almost had to go to four-day lengths. For Tommo to get a five-for, it was a special moment for him.”
What’s next: Yorkshire face early pacesetters Worcestershire Rapids at Headingley on Friday (6.30pm). The Rapids are currently heading a group of teams on eight points at the top of the North Group. Yorkshire are one of them.
PHOTOS: John Mallett