Tenth-wicket heroes Harry Duke and Dom Leech carried Yorkshire to a stunning one-wicket win in today’s Metro Bank One-Day Cup clash with Surrey at York.
The Vikings were chasing 242 to win their second match in five in Group One, but they slipped from 141-3 to 210-9 to seriously undermine their chances.
But wicketkeeper-opener Duke, who finished with a brilliant and calm 93 not out off 132 balls, and last man Leech gained the 32 runs required, winning with nine balls to spare.
It now puts them third in the table – the all-important last knockout qualifying berth – with three matches remaining.
Duke was the standout performer for Yorkshire in this fixture at sun-kissed Clifton Park, where a 3,000-strong crowd was present and cheered wildly when Leech swung away the winning boundary off medium pacer Ryan Patel to finish 18 not out off 37 balls.
But others were key. Leech started and ended this game brilliantly. Surrey posted 241 all out having been 0-2. The quick struck twice in two balls in the second over of the match.
Fellow quick Ben Mike also impressed with a career best 4-40 from 7.5 overs.
Mike was excellent at the death, all of his wickets coming inside the final seven overs of the innings. One of them was Ben Geddes, who led Surrey’s recovery from 0-2 and 79-5 with an excellent 90-ball 92 in the middle order.
After electing to bowl, two early Leech wickets got Yorkshire off to a superb start.
Leech, Matthew Revis and George Hill all finished with two wickets apiece after Surrey had been inserted.
At the end of Leech’s first over, he squared Patel up and had him caught at backward point off a leading edge before getting a driving Rory Burns caught at second slip next ball.
Ben Foakes played a couple of eye-catching shots in 25, including one lovely straight drive, in a bid to recover Surrey alongside opener Dom Sibley.
But he was trapped lbw stuck on the crease by Hill in the 14th over. The England fringe man later didn’t keep wicket having twisted his ankle batting.
And when Cameron Steel – he was later key to Yorkshire’s collapse with 3-49 from 10 overs of leg-spin – played on to the same bowler in the 16th, the ball after hitting a six over midwicket, Surrey were firmly on the back foot at 59-4. It got worse, too.
Sibley was surprisingly skittish during a 49-ball 30. He hit one flicked six off Ben Coad over square-leg. However, attempting to repeat the dose against seamer Revis’s first ball, he skied a catch to mid-on off a leading edge.
While this was far from a featherbed pitch – there were definite signs of a two-paced nature – equally it was not a 79-5 in the 21st over surface either. That was proved by Geddes.
He first of all shared a steadying 45 inside 11 overs with Josh Blake to give the visitors a foothold in proceedings.
They were forced to navigate some accurate and quick short-pitched bowling from Revis, in particular, and that proved Blake’s downfall for 25 as he top-edged a pull and offered a return catch to the bowler in question – 124-6 in the 31st.
Geddes held firm initially and later pressed on en-route to a 59-ball fifty, by which stage Surrey were 155-6 in the 36th.
In all, he pulled three sixes, including one off Revis out of the ground at the City End in sharing a near century stand with McKerr, who also added one of his own before being bowled by Mike – 218-7 in the 44th over.
Mike was superb at the death, also bowling McKerr and getting Dan Moriarty and Amar Virdi caught to wrap up the innings – the latter two in the 48th over.
Blake deputised behind the stumps for Foakes when Yorkshire batted, and their chase started nervily.
They fell to 29-2 in the fifth over with the loss of Fin Bean bowled by McKerr and captain Shan Masood falling the same way to off-spinner Virdi.
Surrey were only playing two frontline seamers in McKerr and Luke Griffiths due to injury and unavailability, with Virdi one of three spinners selected.
Duke and Hill shared 51, a stand dominated by Hill with a pleasing 30. But when he fell caught behind off Griffiths, Yorkshire were 80-3 after 12 overs.
Busy Duke drove handsomely and pulled well too. He lofted a straight six off Dan Moriarty’s left-arm spin in reaching a 59-ball fifty, by which time Yorkshire were well on their way to victory at 138-3 in the 23rd over.
Duke had found another ally in last year’s opening partner Fraine, who had got off the mark with a straight six off Moriarty, and they shared 61 in all.
However, Fraine fell for 32 to change the complexion of the fixture, Yorkshire slipping from 141-3 to 163-7 in the 31st over.
He was stumped off Ryan Patel before stand-in keeper Blake helped leg-spinner Steel remove Mike the same way and get Revis caught and bowled.
Sandwiched in between, James Wharton fell to Virdi.
The score later fell to 210 for nine after 38 overs, Dom Bess caught at deep midwicket on the slog sweep against Steel before Ben Coad was bowled by Moriarty.
But Duke and Leech chipped away, taking singles at the right time and adding a boundary here and there.
And, what makes this even better, is that we get to do it all again on Thursday when Hampshire visit the Minster City for match number six.