Yorkshire Vikings v Birmingham Bears
Vitality Blast, North Group
Thursday June 22, 2023, 6.30pm
Toss: Birmingham won it and elected to bat first
Teams – Yorkshire: Adam Lyth, Dawid Malan, Shan Masood c, James Wharton, Matthew Revis, Jonny Tattersall w, Jordan Thompson, David Wiese, Dom Bess, Matthew Fisher, Jafer Chohan.
Birmingham: Alex Davies c&w, Rob Yates, Glenn Maxwell, Dan Mousley, Chris Benjamin, Jacob Bethell, Ed Barnard, Chris Woakes, Henry Brookes, Danny Briggs, Jake Lintott.
Match summary: Yorkshire’s hopes of quarter-final qualification took another hit, but they oh so nearly chased down 181 against North Group leaders Birmingham Bears, ultimately losing by four runs. Chasing 27 off the last over with two wickets in hand, David Wiese hit Henry Brookes for three sixes, and the target was 12 off two balls. But they finished on 176-8, and the Vikings – six wins, six defeats from 12 games – must now win their last two North Group games to have any chance of reaching the last eight.
Report: This was a game from which Birmingham will breathe a sigh of relief and Yorkshire will rue a missed opportunity.
Birmingham posted 180-7 thanks to opener Rob Yates’ 66 off 51 balls, though they could have got more but for some excellent bowling from Dom Bess, David Wiese and Matthew Fisher, back in the side for Ben Mike.
Bess returned an excellent 1-16 from three overs of off-spin, while Wiese claimed 1-26 from four overs of seam and also changed his pace expertly. Fisher took the new ball and returned 0-26 from four overs.
In reply, Yorkshire slipped to 87-5 in the 13th over before some powerful striking from Jordan Thompson and Matthew Revis revived things, them sharing 54. But both fell to leave Brookes defending 27 off the last.
Wiese wielded the willow, including a couple of sixes midway through the over to take the target to 12 off two. Brookes then bowled what looked like a wide to Wiese, but it wasn’t given. And the fast bowler closed things out to strengthen Birmingham’s grip on top spot.
For them, off-spinner Dan Mousley claimed a career best 4-28.
The Birmingham innings was a curious one – a tale of two halves.
They reached 92-1 after 10 overs, only to lose six wickets for 88 in the second half as Yorkshire survived some sloppy ground fielding and catching to stay very much in the hunt in good batting conditions.
Off-spinner Dom Bess varied his pace and returned an excellent 1-16 from three overs. While Matthew Revis claimed two wickets, including Glenn Maxwell bowled trying to reverse scoop for 21, Bess was the pick of the bowlers. David Wiese with 1-26 from four overs of seam wasn’t far behind.
Yates led the Birmingham innings with his 66, falling run out coming back for two off the last ball of the innings.
He was strong square on both sides of the wicket, but he never really broke free.
Only two players did. Chris Benjamin made 45 off 27 balls from number three and Maxwell 21 off 10 with three sixes from number four. But neither went on.
The first of Maxwell’s sixes was pulled over square-leg onto the top tier of the Headingley Lodge hotel.
Dawid Malan and Adam Lyth then hit leg-side sixes off Henry Brookes in the second over of the chase. But trouble was around the corner as Malan hoisted Maxwell’s off-spin to deep cover and James Wharton was caught at slip off Chris Woakes in the next two overs, leaving the Vikings at 32-2 after four overs.
Lyth looked good for 34, and so did captain Shan Masood for 21. Both played some eye-catching shots. But Yorkshire’s recent Achilles heel has been batters failing to build on starts.
And this was, unfortunately, no different.
Lyth was caught at short third off Mousley’s third ball of off-spin and Masood bowled by a beauty of a googly from left-arm wrist-spinner Jake Lintott – 74-4 in the 11th.
After a couple of big Thompson sixes off Lintott later in the over, Mousley trapped Jonny Tattersall lbw in his next over, leaving the Vikings at 87-5 in the 12th.
But home hopes were raised as all-rounders Thompson and Revis powerfully turned the tide. Thompson was strong to leg, while Revis hit particularly well down the ground in a brisk 54 stand.
They took the target to a still unlikely 41 from three overs at 140 for five.
However, England Ashes squad man Chris Woakes (2-22 from four overs) returned to get Revis caught at deep square-leg for 32, conceding only two off his last over and paving the way for victory.
Mousley’s third wicket was Thompson brilliantly caught at long-on by a diving Jacob Bethell for 34.
He also bowled Bess to leave Brookes with breathing space in the last.
Magic moment: It’s certainly worth searching out a video of Jacob Bethell’s catch to remove Jordan Thompson at the end off Mousley. It was a stunning diving catch at long-off, one which sparked disbelief and jubilation in equal measures amongst his team-mates.
Turning point: Yorkshire had done well to limit the Bears to 180-7 after they had been 92-1 after 10 overs. But slipping to 32-2 after four overs of the chase undid the good work and put the Vikings on the back foot once again.
Stat of the match: For two home games running, the visiting team has batted first and posted 180. On Tuesday, Northamptonshire reached 180-6, and tonight it was 180-7 for the Bears.
What they said: Adam Lyth – “The last two matches, we were well below par with the bat, ball and in the field, especially with the bat. You can’t get bowled out for 70 and barely scrape 100. That was disappointing.
“Tonight, I thought we were staring down the barrel of 200, but we pegged it back brilliantly with the ball.
“Then, unfortunately, I hold my hands up. I got 34 off nearly as many balls, which isn’t good enough. I should have seen that through.
“The way Tommo and Rev came in and played for that 50 or 60 partnership, they played beautifully. Wiese at the end too. Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite get over the line. But it was a better effort from the lads with the bat.
“I actually thought the penultimate ball (of the match) should have been a wide, which would have made it very interesting. I watched it on the replay, and Wiese did move a little bit, but I’m sure in the rules the line moves as well. We could have got a wide and put them under real pressure.
“I thought Fish bowled beautifully, and Bessy came on at a really tough time and was outstanding for three overs for 16.
“If we’d have had another couple of wickets in hand at the back end, we might have chased that down.
“With the schedule, we’ve got to turn it around pretty quick. We have a game tomorrow night (at Durham). We know what we need to do. We need to win two out of two.”
What’s next: Yorkshire’s penultimate North Group game will be played tomorrow against Durham at the Seat Unique Riverside (6.30pm).