Yorkshire are relishing tonight’s (FRIDAY) Vitality Blast “straight shootout” with fellow contenders Nottinghamshire at Emerald Headingley, with quarter-final qualification the big prize on offer.
It is a winner takes all clash between the Vikings and the Outlaws (6.30pm).
Both sides sit on 14 points from 13 North Group games, with the Vikings just ahead in fourth place courtesy of a superior net run-rate.
In the unlikely event of a No Result or tie, that would mean they advance.
Yorkshire beat Northamptonshire at Wantage Road last night by seven wickets with 27 balls to spare chasing 163 thanks to a star display from captain David Willey.
Against his former county, Willey claimed 3-30 from four overs, including a triple wicket maiden in the penultimate over of the Northants innings.
He then crunched 79 off 44 balls, going on a run of hitting five sixes in 12 balls at one stage.
He shared 150 for the second wicket with Adam Lyth (66) after Josh Cobb had given the hosts a total of 162-8 with an unbeaten 68.
Champions Notts have come with a late run to stay in contention to defend their crown, including beating the Vikings at Trent Bridge last Friday.
“The result at Trent Bridge wasn’t good, so it was important we bounced back given the importance of the two games,” said Willey.
“The way we played showed how much it means to us to progress in this competition.
“Going out there chasing 160, I felt it was important to kill the game rather than take it deep, to break the back and keep going really.
“Lythy and myself managed to do that, and it meant for a comfortable win in the end.
“It gives us some momentum with bat and ball going into Notts.
“Two teams, all to play for. They did us on their patch, so hopefully we can return the favour and get ourselves through to the quarter-finals. Then who knows what can happen?”
Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale said: “It’s a straight shootout now. We have a fantastic record on our home patch.
“We’ll have a good crowd in, they can be our 12th man. Hopefully we put on a good show and get over the line.”
“I thought 160 was about par,” he continued.
“I felt we bowled and fielded pretty well. We were intelligent with the bowling, and we communicated early on what sort of lengths we needed to bowl.
“Cobb played well, but we kept taking wickets, which was key.
“I knew if we had a good power play, that would break its back.
“Dave and Lythy were outstanding.
“I would describe that performance as very professional.
“They only got 35 off the power play, which was good for us.
“Ok, we dropped a catch which should have been taken. But that’s T20 – it can happen.
“Dave bowled well, Puds (Plunkett) and Fish through that middle period.
“We spoke at half-time about how the pitch was a bit tacky, so stick in and give yourself a chance. But it looked like it became a lot easier when you got yourself in.”
Willey added: “It was a pitch where if you go yourself in, there were balls which you could hit.
“The way Cobby (Josh Cobb) played showed that.
“Credit to our bowlers generally. I felt we bowled the right lengths and bowled to our field, which I don’t think they did. We also tried to starve him of the strike, which worked well for us.”
Yorkshire have named an unchanged squad from the one that traveled to Northampton last night.
14-man squad to take on Notts Outlaws
Jonny Tattersall (Wicketkeeper)
David Willey (Captain)
This fixture sees a straight shoot out between the two teams, Yorkshire Vikings and Notts Outlaws, with the winner claiming fourth spot and a place in the quarter-finals.
- Nottinghamshire last beat Yorkshire in a T20 match at Headingley in 2014.
- The total of 17 T20 matches which Yorkshire have lost against Nottinghamshire represents their worst record against any county.
- The ten totals of 200 or more in T20 matches between these two sides is the most in a series involving Yorkshire.
- Nottinghamshire have never scored fewer than 150 in any T20 match at Headingley.
- Despite the high scoring in T20 matches between these two counties only Alex Hales (101 for Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 2017) has made an individual century.
- Two Yorkshire bowlers (Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Adil Rashid) have each taken four wickets in a T20 match between these two counties but Nottinghamshire’s best is three for 16 by Harry Gurney.
Vitality Blast statistics
Vitality Blast standings
The opposition – Notts Outlaws
T20 record – Defending champions after winning the tournament in 2017, runners-up in 2005 and beaten semi-finalists in 2010 and 2016. On nine occasions they have advanced to the knockout stages of the competition.
Last season – Won the North Group, then defeated Somerset in the quarters, Hampshire in the semis and Birmingham Bears in the final.
Captain – Dan Christian returns to Trent Bridge for the fourth consecutive season and resumes as captain after lifting the trophy last year – a simple act that went wrong and resulted in the sharp edges of the silverware cutting his eyebrow.
Overseas Players – Christian and New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi reunite at Trent Bridge to try and emulate last year’s outstanding success.
T20 record: Yorkshire have only reached Finals Day twice since the start of T20 cricket in 2003. They were beaten in the 2012 final by Hampshire at Cardiff and beaten semi-finalists by Durham at Edgbaston in 2016.
Last season: The Vikings finished fifth in the North Group with six wins and five defeats. They also played out a Roses tie away at Lancashire and had two No Results. That they didn’t qualify was pretty amazing given they topped 200 four times with the bat. They just lost a couple of key games on the road.
Captain: Steve Patterson.
Overseas players: Yorkshire are set to go into the Blast with just one overseas, the New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who has returned to Emerald Headingley for a fourth spell. He will play nine group games from July 20 and a potential quarter-final.
The White Rose had signed towering fast bowler Billy Stanlake, but he was pulled out by Cricket Australia in May. They have opted not to replace him.