THE TURNING POINT: If it could be so-described, came right at the start as Yorkshire piled up 76 runs in the six Powerplay overs, after which it was always going to be a tough night for the home team.
SHOT OF THE DAY: With the ball soaring over the ropes so many times, there were plenty of contenders, but Pooran getting down on one knee to hoist Ben Mike over the mid-wicket boundary had visual appeal.
UNSUNG HERO: Given that few bowlers were spared amid the carnage, England left-arm quick David Willey deserves a favourable mention for managing to concede just one boundary in his four overs.
WHAT’S NEXT: Yorkshire Vikings head back to Headingley for a sell-out Roses match against Lancashire Lightning on Thursday, while The Foxes look to open their account for the season against Durham at the Fischer County Ground on Friday.
Yorkshire are now the holders of the two highest innings totals in English T20 history after smashing a stunning 255-2 in a first Vitality Blast victory of the season over Leicestershire at Grace Road.
The Vikings fell five runs short of their own record, 260-4 against Northamptonshire at Emerald Headingley in 2017, on a chastening night for both bowling attacks.
Captain Tom Kohler-Cadmore top-scored with 96 not out from 54 balls, while opening partner Adam Lyth crashed 69 off 35 and West Indies overseas star Nicholas Pooran 67 off 28.
Leicestershire responded with a spirited 201-4, handing Yorkshire a 54-run win from their third North Group match to go with a defeat and a No Result.
Yorkshire’s innings included 19 sixes, just one short of the record 20 set by Essex against Surrey at Chelmsford only last week.
Kohler-Cadmore hit eight of them and left-handers Pooran and Lyth six and four apiece. Harry Brook added the last.
Kohler-Cadmore and Lyth shared an opening stand of 116 in 10.1 overs after the Foxes had elected to bowl first upon winning the toss on a baking hot evening.
In Yorkshire’s innings, 13 overs went for double-figure scores, while four of those went for 20 or more, including left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson for 27 in the 16th when Pooran hoisted three sixes, including one off a no ball, and a four.
A green-tinged pitch played like a batsman’s dream as Kohler-Cadmore and Lyth raced out of the blocks and posted 76 off the powerplay.
Kohler-Cadmore was particularly strong down the ground and over wide long-on on the way to his highest T20 score in a Yorkshire shirt.
In reaching his fifty off 32 balls, the 24-year-old was considerably slower than Lyth (21 balls) and Pooran (22) to the milestone.
Pooran was elevated from batting at number seven in Saturday’s defeat to Derbyshire at Chesterfield to number three, and David Willey did not even get a bat against a friendly attack.
This was some way for the Vikings’ top order to warm up for Thursday’s blockbuster Roses clash with Lancashire at a sold out Headingley (7pm).
But their bowlers were taken to task in the Foxes chase, even if you never felt the 256 target was being threatened.
When Neil Dexter was bowled by Duanne Olivier as he shuffled across his stumps and attempted to play to leg, Leicestershire had reached 51 in the sixth over.
South African speedster Olivier was one of three changes for the Vikings from that Derby defeat, with fellow seamers Mat Pillans and Tim Bresnan also coming in for Jonny Tattersall and injured duo Matthew Fisher (collarbone/thumb) and Josh Poysden (head).
Yorkshire’s sole frontline spin option, Bess, struck at the end of the 10th over when Australian Mark Cosgrove (31) skewed a catch to Gary Ballance at backward point, leaving the score at 82-2.
Jordan Thompson later forced Colin Ackermann to play onto his stumps (110-3 in the 13th), but Arron Lilley continued the batsman-themed night with some clean hitting on the way to 47 as the visitors also erred in line and length.
While Thompson (1-19 from three overs) was impressive, Willey probably just pipped him to the tag of the evening’s best bowler despite going wicketless in conceding only 23 from his four overs.
Pillans removed Lilley in the penultimate over of the match as Leicester fell to 177-4, but they did ensure that this fixture can lay claim to the joint English record for sixes in a match – 31, which was also recorded by Essex and Surrey at Chelmsford last week.
What they said
Yorkshire Vikings’ top scorer Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who was acting captain with Steve Patterson currently resting, said that his side fancied themselves to make a big total but 255 for two exceeded expectations.
“The Powerplay set the tone for us and for me apart maybe from hitting the last ball for six the innings could not have gone much better,” he said. “You’d settle for 200 on the board most weeks so to get 250 is massive.
“I would have bowled first as well had I won the toss, so it was no real surprise that they asked us to bat.
“With the boundaries being short, we felt that no total would have been out of reach on an excellent wicket, but it worked out nicely for us in the end.
“The way Adam Lyth batted at the top, getting off to a flyer, allowed me to get in. We did what we spoke about doing in our plans for the match, Adam and Nicholas played beautifully, so credit to them for getting us to the score we got.
“But even at the end there, the way Lilley and Hill batted for Leicestershire, it showed how difficult it was to defend on that pitch with those boundaries.
“That was why it was so impressive the way David Willey bowled. For him to go for 23 on a tatty pitch would still have been incredible, let alone a flat pitch.”
Foxes skipper Colin Ackerman said: “We brought the boundaries in to try to create a more exciting game of T20 cricket, so it was always going to be a high-scoring game.
“We felt if could restrict them to 210 we would have chased that down but we needed to take wickets up front and the way they were able to score in the Powerplay made it difficult for us.
“We felt 200 on that pitch was about a par score but we had too many overs going for 15-plus. They bowled their yorkers very well up front but our yorkers were going for six, so that’s something we have to work on.
“On the plus side, Lewis and Aaron showed in their partnership that they are two exciting players who can turn a game on its head and I’ve no doubt they will do that for us this season.”