Yorkshire’s hopes of quarter-final qualification in the Vitality Blast suffered a significant blow with a five-wicket defeat defending 178 against champions Worcestershire at Emerald Headingley.
The Vikings lost their third game in six North Group outings, with only one win to their name so far.
They will be frustrated at not making more than 177-7 having elected to bat first.
It looked to be a competitive total on a good Headingley pitch, but they were 104-0 early in the 12th over and looking at close to 200.
Adam Lyth, who top-scored with 68, and Tom Kohler-Cadmore shared their second century opening partnership of this season’s Blast, but the Rapids fought back from a loose start with the ball.
In reply, Rapids opener Riki Wessels smashed five sixes in 91 off 51 balls to underpin a chase achieved with 15 balls to spare.
TURNING POINT: With the Vikings eyeing 200, or certainly close to, at 104-1 after 11.2 overs, Worcester were under the cosh. But they proved just why they are champions.
BALL OF THE MATCH: Wayne Parnell bowled Jordan Thompson (157-6 in the 19th over) with a perfect leg-stump yorker as the Rapids fought back from a difficult start.
UNSUNG HERO: Dillon Pennington conceded only two from the first over of the match, conceded 20 from his next two before responding in the 16th to stymie Yorkshire’s progress with the wickets of Brook and Willey as the hosts were just ready to launch.
WHAT’S NEXT: Yorkshire face Worcestershire’s Midlands rivals Birmingham Bears at Emerald Headingley on Sunday, a must win game, while the Rapids tackle Leicestershire Foxes at Blackfinch New Road on the same day. Both games are 2.30pm starts.
Lyth top-scored and hit four sixes in 48 balls, while ex-Worcester player Kohler-Cadmore hit two sixes in 40 off 27 as the pair took the visitors’ seamers to task.
Lyth hit successive sixes off Wayne Parnell and Pat Brown in the second and fourth overs en-route to a 32 ball fifty. He was particularly strong square on both sides of the wicket, while Kohler-Cadmore was more measured.
He hit nicely on the up down the ground and over cover.
But they were two of seven wickets to fall inside the last nine overs of an innings which damagingly fell away.
Both fell caught at deep mid-wicket off the off-spin of George Rhodes (114-2 in the 14th).
That Rhodes, who finished with figures of 2-12, only bowled two overs was a surprise, especially with none of Worcester’s five seamers going at less than eight an over. They were the only two overs of spin in the innings.
But, in fairness, their seamers did hit back with effect.
Dillon Pennington removed Harry Brook and David Willey in the 16th over, leaving the score at 140-4, just when they were looking to launch.
And Pat Brown also struck twice at the death.
The Rapids, who now have nine points in second place in the North and are only a point behind unbeaten group leaders Lancashire, made a bright start to their chase as Riki Wessels took the lead role.
When Martin Guptill top-edged a short ball from Duanne Olivier to short fine-leg, they were 28-1 in the fourth and on the way to a power play score of 47-1 after six overs. Wessels had 26 of them.
In the next over, bowled by returning Vikings captain Steve Patterson after a five-game rest, Wessels launched sixes over long-off and long-leg as 20 runs came off the over.
Wessels reached his second fifty of this season’s Blast off 32 balls, like Lyth earlier, but not before he lost Callum Ferguson (26) caught at backward point for 26 off Lyth’s off-spin as the score fell to 93-2 in the 10th.
He was far more inventive than anyone else, hitting particularly strongly to leg.
When he fell in the 15th over, caught at long-on off Dom Bess’ off-spin, the damage had been done with the score at 152 for three and only 26 more needed.
Olivier and David Willey picked up late wickets consolatory wickets.
Sunday’s home clash with Birmingham Bears is now a crucial one.
Meanwhile, Yorkshire have confirmed South African Test spinner Keshav Maharaj will play in their next two Championship matches against Nottinghamshire at Scarborough and Somerset at Taunton. He will also be available for any Blast games from next week onwards.
What they said…
Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth
“That’s very disappointing.
“We were probably 10 short with the bat maybe. I thought we had a decent score on that pitch. We had a decent power play without being great with the ball. Then, after six overs, we were very, very poor.
“There were too many wides, and it was a shocking display in the field.
“To be fair to Riki, he did play well. But we probably fed him 40 or 50 runs into his slot. We know he’s strong on the leg-side, and we fed him all night.
“You’re not going to win many games bowling and fielding like that.
“We need to get on a roll and do it fast. That starts Sunday (Birmingham at Headingley). It’s a must win game.”
Worcestershire’s Riki Wessels
“It’s always nice to get an away win. They’re especially important in this competition.
“Last Friday we had a poor game against Lancashire, but this week we’ve come back quite nicely with a couple of wins and hopefully again on Sunday.
“It’s important you realise what you’ve done wrong quite quickly and try and correct those mistakes. We did that from last Friday night and have played two pretty decent games.
“We probably weren’t at our best with the ball today, but we tidied it up well.
“At one stage it looked like they could have been close to 200 with wickets in hand. So to drag it back to what we did, it gave us a good chance of chasing it down.
“It was not the most aggressive power play from us, but with one short side (towards the East Stand of Headingley), it was quite easy to target certain balls and the rate never gets too far away from you.”