Yorkshire Vikings v Northamptonshire Steelbacks
Vitality Blast, North Group
Saturday June 26 2021, 6.30pm
Toss: Yorkshire won it and opted to bat first
*Teams: Yorkshire *- Lyth c, Stoneman, Thompson, Ballance, Brook, Tattersall w, Hill, Waite, Fisher, Bess, Ferguson.
Northamptonshire – Rossington c&w, Vasconcelos, Thurston, Nabi, Parnell, Zaib, Keogh, Taylor, White, Glover, Sanderson.
Match summary: Jordan Thompson smashed a career best 74 having been elevated to bat at number three, whilst debutant Mark Stoneman made 50, as Yorkshire sailed past 200 and hammered Northamptonshire by 82 runs to top the North Group with their sixth win in nine games. The Steelbacks, chasing 225, later slipped to 142 all out in 19.3 overs. Dom Bess claimed a career best 3-17 from four overs.
Report: Jordan Thompson and birthday boy Mark Stoneman underpinned Yorkshire’s mammoth 224-3, a total which ultimately propelled the Vikings to the top of the North Group above champions Nottinghamshire.
Yorkshire took a significant step towards the quarter-finals with a sixth win in nine games and now sit on 13 points, level with Notts but with a better net run-rate.
More importantly, they are five points clear of fifth-placed Lancashire, who are outside of the top four quarter-final qualifying places with two Roses matches still to come.
There were three half-century partnerships in a Yorkshire innings which included 12 sixes.
The pressure applied meant the visiting chase was always going to be a tough one, and impressive off-spinner Dom Bess benefitted to the tune of three cheap wickets.
Left-handers Stoneman, 34 today, and Thompson, batting at three in a re-jigged order due to unavailability, shared 79 for the second wicket to advance from 34-1 in the fifth.
Thompson and Harry Brook added 53 for the third wicket before Brook ended the innings by uniting for a quick-fire 58 with Gary Ballance.
Brook made 45 not out and helped take 27 runs off the final over of the innings. Both he and Ballance clobbered two sixes apiece.
Stoneman fell the ball after reaching his fifty off 30 balls and Thompson got to his half-century off 27 balls and, in all, hit three fours and seven sixes in 35.
In reply, the Steelbacks made a bright start and were 60-1 after six overs, only to lose Ricardo Vasconcelos, Mohammad Nabi and Wayne Parnell to Bess to slip to 78-4 after nine overs.
After Vasconcelos was caught at cover, Nabi and Parnell were caught in the deep.
The visitors were 84-4 after 10 overs, needing 141 more. The game was virtually up for them.
Matthew Fisher later struck twice in an over after Thompson had enhanced his memorable night with a wicket.
Matthew Waite wrapped up the win with three balls remaining, claiming the last two wickets.
Turning point: Six boundaries combined came off the last two overs of Yorkshire’s power play, hit by Adam Lyth, Mark Stoneman and Jordan Thompson. That took the Vikings from 30-0 after four overs to 57-1 after six (Lyth fell) and gave them significant impetus.
Magic moment: Gary Ballance and Harry Brook finished the Vikings innings in style with two sixes apiece in the final over from Ben Sanderson, which went for 27.
Stat: This was Yorkshire’s seventh highest total in Vitality Blast history. Six of the top seven scores have all been posted here at Emerald Headingley.
Yorkshire’s highest, 260-4, was also scored against the Steelbacks here in 2017 when Adam Lyth smashed his famous 161.
Rocky: Surrey’s former England Test opener Mark Stoneman, nicknamed Rocky, is playing five out of the remaining six Blast games on loan, including this.
And what a debut and what a way to celebrate your birthday.
He hit 10 fours in a 31-ball 50 and was particularly strong through the leg-side. He has been in fine form in Surrey second team recently, scoring three fifties in six T20 innings.
What they said: Mark Stoneman – “To be entirely honest, I never thought we’d be breaking 200 after the power play. It felt like 175-180 would be about the mark. There were fractional differences in pace in the pitch
“But the way we held partnerships through the innings was fantastic.
“With the ball, guys just stuck to plans. We took our catches, a couple of run outs. It was a very good performance.
“I really enjoyed it. It all came around pretty quickly from getting a phone call at 1pm yesterday on the way to training with Surrey.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity, and it was nice to get a score on the board and a couple of decent partnerships with the lads.
“I’ve been welcomed with open arms. It’s a great opportunity for me, and the club saw the chance to bring me in and use my experience and skillset. It’s the perfect balance really.”
Wildcard for Tommo?: Ahead of the Hundred, each of the eight teams must add one player to their squad – a wildcard pick. That has been designed to reward this season’s performances in the Blast.
Jordan Thompson has now hit two fifties in his last three games.
He said: “I can’t say that it’s not on my mind. I’ve looked at it and seen the wildcard spots. Whether I’m playing well enough at the moment, you never know.
“It would be lovely to get picked up in it to be able to play with and against the players that are in it. I’m hopeful.”
What’s next: Yorkshire have a three-day break before their next Blast fixture, away against Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston on Wednesday (6.30pm).
The Vikings beat the Bears on the opening night of the competition at Emerald Headingley earlier this month. The Bears are also in quarter-final contention having won four of nine games.