Yorkshire Vikings v Worcestershire Rapids 

Vitality Blast, North Group 

Friday June 9, 2023, 6.30pm 

Headingley

Toss: Yorkshire won it and elected to bat. 

Teams – Yorkshire: Adam Lyth, Dawid Malan, Shan Masood c, James Wharton, Matthew Revis, Jonny Tattersall w, Jordan Thompson, David Wiese, Dom Bess, Ben Mike, Jafer Chohan.

Worcestershire: Brett D’Oliveira c, Michael Bracewell, Jack Haynes, Adam Hose, Kashif Ali, Ed Pollock, Ben Cox w, Mitchell Santner, Adam Finch, Pat Brown, Dillon Pennington. 

Match summary: A blistering maiden century from young buck James Wharton – 111 not out off 57 balls – set record-breaking Yorkshire on their way to a fifth successive Vitality Blast win as Worcestershire Rapids were brushed aside. Wharton and second-wicket partner Dawid Malan (79 off 48) shared 159 inside 14 overs on the way to 224-4. It was the county’s highest ever T20 partnership, putting the game beyond a visiting side who posted 198-6 with Jordan Thompson claiming 4-34. 

Jordan Thompson

Report: Yorkshire’s fifth win puts them firmly in the race for a quarter-finals berth after eight matches, beating a Rapids side who had led the table earlier this week.

There were many incredible things about this Yorkshire innings, shots and stats included.

One was that the Vikings were 13-1 after three overs after Adam Lyth fell cheaply at the end of the second over, miscuing a sweep at Michael Bracewell’s off-spin to mid-wicket. 

But Wharton and Malan were scintillating in typically excellent batting conditions here.

Wharton crashed three sixes, including a scoop over long-leg to reach his 100 off 57 balls. His fifty had come off 20 balls. The 22-year-old also drove superbly, both on the ground and inside out over cover.

He had been dropped on 19 by Brett D’Oliveira at mid-on, while one of his fierce straight drives struck umpire Steve O’Shaughnessy a nasty blow on the bicep.

Worcester were poor with the ball and in the field, with Malan hitting all four of his sixes leg-side. As much as he is famed for his class, there is a definite savage side to the left-hander when he gets going.

Worcester’s bowling performance was typified by seamer Pat Brown going wicketless and conceding 56 runs from his four overs, while Wharton’s drop on 19 wasn’t the only chance which went begging.

Twenty-two-year-old Wharton’s hundred was Yorkshire’s eighth in T20 cricket.

The night started with Shan Masood winning his eighth toss in nine in both Championship and T20 cricket since arriving at Yorkshire last month.

Despite the severity of the task facing Worcestershire, their victory chance was by no means impossible. 

But they suffered a huge blow when New Zealander Bracewell, who opened the batting, collapsed mid-pitch clutching his right leg on 11 and retired hurt early in the chase.

After Bracewell limped off in the second over, Jack Haynes miscued David Wiese to mid-on and Adam Hose top-edged Thompson behind, leaving the score at 48-2 in the fifth over.

The run-rate wasn’t an issue, but the loss of wickets was.

Opener D’Oliveira tried to rectify his earlier error in the field with a quick-fire 47 off 31 balls before pulling the seam of Matthew Revis to deep midwicket.

When Mitchell Santner (27) clubbed Thompson to long-on, leaving the score at 109-4 in the 12th over, the Rapids had a mountain to climb. 

Kashif Ali helped them at least stay in the hunt with some lusty hitting on the way to 48 not out. But the target became 62 off four overs at 163 for four. He shared 81 with fifth-wicket partner Cox (35).

But the latter holed out as Thompson struck twice in as many balls in the penultimate, which ended with the score at 191-6. 

Dawid Malan

Magic moment: James Wharton scooping Pat Brown over long-leg at the end of the 18th over to reach his maiden career senior century, off 51 balls. It was a memorable way to reach his hundred, taking the Vikings to 201-3 in the process.

Turning point: Brett D’Oliveira dropping Wharton on 19 at mid-on off Pat Brown in the fifth over was crucial. It would have left Yorkshire at 41-2. It was a costly reprieve to say the least. 

Stat of the match: The 14-over partnership with Malan from 11-1 in the second beat the 150 Lyth and David Willey shared for the second wicket at Northants in 2018.

What they said – James Wharton: “It’s just nice when you’re given an opportunity to go and do alright. It was a nice feeling, but I’m over the moon we got another win.

“I’m buzzing. I plinked my way to 20 and got a few words from one of their bowlers. But that’s how it goes. You need a bit of luck, and I just kept going. 

“I’ve learnt my game, and I’ve matured as I’ve got older. I know how I play T20 cricket now. Before, it was all a bit pre-meditated and I didn’t know my options. Now I’ve simplified my game. 

“Also, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Lythy and Mala, that’s always valuable. I was having a conversation with Mala in the nets the other day, and it’s those sorts of things which get you to a performance like that. 

“For me, it really helped that Mala was going strong as well. He was talking me through each over. ‘Stay in the moment’ was his key message. He played an unbelievable knock. 

“We were confident (with 224 on the board), but we also know it’s such a quick-scoring ground here and the outfield’s rapid. You just never know. 

“It took a good bowling performance – Tommo with four wickets, nine in the week.

“We just want to keep the momentum going. Five from five is nice, and we have a little break now. When we come back next Friday, we want to keep going and remember what it’s like to win because we don’t want to drop back into losing.”

What’s next: Yorkshire are back in LV= Insurance County Championship action against Derbyshire at Chesterfield on Sunday (11am). The county’s next Blast game is against Leicestershire at Headingley next Friday (6.30pm).

James Wharton

PHOTOS: Allan McKenzie, SWPix

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