Aaron Finch stunned Emirates Old Trafford with a spectacular 88 off 55 balls as Yorkshire downed Lancashire by chasing 180 to win by five wickets with three balls to spare in front of 16,000 spectators.
The powerful Australian was integral to a pursuit which ended in controversy as the hosts were penalised six runs for not bowling their overs on time, taking a target of 15 off the last over down to nine.
Rich Pyrah hit a six over cover to seal a second win from four for the Vikings against the North Division leaders, who, in truth, can’t really complain because the timing was an issue for quite some time.
They were, however, unfortunate that they were only able to bowl four overs of spin because they were expensive and seized upon by a rampant Finch. They usually bowl ten, eleven or 12 overs.
Tom Smith smashed 55 off 28 balls, and brought up the equal fastest fifty in Lightning T20 history off 22 balls, before captain Paul Horton’s 60 off 45 boosted the hosts to a commanding 179-6 after electing to bat.
Smith smashed Jack Brooks for a six and two fours at the start of the fourth over before hitting Pyrah for four fours from the start of the fifth as Lancashire reached the powerplay at 65-1.
Yorkshire dragged it back well through the next four overs as they only conceded 15 runs, including the dismissal of Smith brilliantly caught at long-off by a combination of Adam Lyth and Finch off Adil Rashid.
Lyth parried the ball to Finch before diving over the boundary rope.
Rashid was superb for 2-22 from four overs, including a sharp caught and bowled chance to get rid of Karl Brown, as was Oliver Robinson, who took two wickets in the final over on the way to 2-26 from three.
Yorkshire lost Andrew Gale in the first over of their reply, bowled by Ali, but Finch and Alex Lees (36) shared 99 for the second wicket to take Yorkshire to 102-1 in the early stages of the 13th over.
While Lees accumulated with a fluency, Finch powered his way with eight fours and five sixes in a typically brutal assault, favouring long-on and straight mid-wicket.
The Australian, rated as the world’s number one T20 batsman, even hit Jordan Clark for two monster maximums which thudded into The Point conference facility in the 15th over. The first nearly hit the roof!
Once he had fallen, caught at short third-man off Smith to leave the score at 144-4 after one ball of the 18th, Yorkshire needed 36 off 17 balls.
Jonny Bairstow, however, took 15 off four balls through the rest of the over as the target became 20 off two. Bairstow finished with an extremely useful 17 not out off 13 balls.
Junaid Khan then bowled an excellent penultimate over, but the target became nine off the last with the penalty. Pyrah slapped Ali over the fence to silence a crowd and send the Vikings into raptures.