By Graham Hardcastle and Paul Dyson.
Keshav Maharaj is hoping to showcase a different side of his game to Yorkshire fans and others watching around the world during the second half of the Vitality Blast.
The South African international left-arm spinner has returned to White Rose ranks and was due to play in last night’s rained-off Roses clash at Emirates Old Trafford, a result which further dents the Vikings hopes of quarter-final qualification.
Instead, he will prepare to face Derbyshire Falcons at Emerald Headingley on Sunday afternoon (3pm), a must win game for the hosts.
Maharaj, 29, has starred in Yorkshire’s last three County Championship matches with 20 wickets and two half-centuries down the order with his swashbuckling style of batting.
He will also play in the next two against Nottinghamshire at Scarborough from next Sunday and against Somerset at Taunton (September 10) before a Test tour of India.
Around those two Championship appearances, Maharaj will be available for the rest of the Blast group stages – there are six remaining fixtures – and any potential quarter-final at the start of next month.
It is a format he is desperate to prosper in.
“I’m really excited to be back,” he said, having returned to South Africa for a national awards dinner, something which was part of his central contract duties.
“To get the opportunity to play some T20 cricket and to pick up where I left off in the last three Championship games, I can’t wait.
“Hopefully I can contribute towards some victories and help qualify for the knockout stages.
“I’ve been wanting to play T20 cricket all over the world. It’s any professional cricketer’s dream.
“I’m lucky enough to have been given the opportunity, so I’m really excited.
“There’s some of the world’s best players in this competition, as well as the local players, and I’m really looking forward to testing myself.
“When you showcase yourself in the various competitions, it gives you the opportunity to market yourself as a bowler.
“I’m also very keen to play for South Africa. That’s a big thing for me.”
Maharaj has played 87 career T20s, taking 68 wickets, with an impressive economy rate of 6.81 runs per over. But he hasn’t played any international T20 and has only played four one-day internationals.
“Various bowlers have various plans in T20 cricket,” he continued. “But I pride myself on keeping the runs down and gaining wickets. That’s the way I go about it.
“Who knows, it may change this time. I may get wickets and be more expensive.”
The 25-time Test Match bowler will soon resume four-day action for Yorkshire after a superb start to his short-term overseas stint.
Of the three matches he has played so far, two of them have been victories – against Surrey at Scarborough and against pre-game Division One leaders Somerset at Headingley, in which he took eleven wickets and scored a first-innings fifty.
“I think I surprised myself having come from not playing any cricket in our pre-season back at home,” he said.
“Contributing to two victories was the most important thing for me, and hopefully I can do that again in the next two Championship games.
“There’s four games left for Yorkshire, and who knows what will happen.
“If we get four wins and other results go our way, it could very well be a Yorkshire title.
“The boys have put in a lot of hard work, and the rewards would be richly deserved.”
Umpires Ian Gould and Jeremy Lloyds called off last night’s Roses clash just before 7.30pm following heavy rain overnight and throughout the day in Manchester.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore captains the side with Steven Patterson opting for an extended period of rest. The Club captain has been bowling with the red ball and is working towards next week’s Specsavers County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at North Marine Road, Scarborough.
Gary Ballance, currently struggling with a hamstring complaint, is unlikely to feature and Harry Brook also misses out.
Will Fraine comes into the squad, while leg-spinning all-rounder Adil Rashid underwent a scan on his problematic right shoulder on Tuesday and the Club are awaiting feedback from the England medical team.
Leg-spinner Josh Poysden (head) and slow left-armer James Logan (back) have been ruled out for the rest of the season.
Seamer Matthew Fisher (dislocated shoulder/broken thumb), who has been easing back into his bowling work, is around three/four weeks away from a return to competitive cricket.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore ©
Jonny Tattersall (WK)
Vitality Blast Tables
Finals Days: 2
Coach: Andrew Gale – Former captain who led the side to their only Blast final to date, in 2012. Yorkshire’s leading T20 run-scorer (2,260) is in his third season as coach.
Captain: Steve Patterson – A seamer whose contributions are key for the White Rose in all formats, he hasn’t always been a regular pick in T20 cricket. This is his first full season as skipper, but he led last season’s entire Blast campaign.
Overseas signings: Nicholas Pooran (West Indies – available for the first five games).
Narrative: With only two Finals Day appearances to their name (2012, 2016), the Vikings have underachieved in this format. A side who posted 260 for four against Northants two summers ago – English T20’s highest team total – should be doing far better.
Star man: David Willey – England commitments have ceased for now, meaning he should be available for the entire competition. An all-rounder with star quality and history of taking the Blast by storm. In 2013, he was man-of-the-match in ex-county Northamptonshire’s final win over Surrey at Edgbaston, scoring 60 and taking four wickets, including a hat-trick.
Mr Consistency: Adam Lyth – The left-handed opener, so long as he does not suffer a last-minute injury, will become Yorkshire’s all-time leading T20 run-scorer during 2019. With 2,240 to his name, he is only 20 behind coach Andrew Gale. Late last year, the 31-year-old – also a gun fielder and a handy off-spin bowler – went beyond 100 T20 appearances for the Vikings.
Under the radar: Jonny Tattersall – The county’s first-choice wicketkeeper may well be given a break from taking the gloves during the first five matches with Pooran around, but his busy style of batting could be crucial late in an innings. Should build on one fifty in last season’s debut campaign.
Killer stat: Prior to this season, Yorkshire had reached or topped 200 in an innings on 16 occasions. Six of those scores were achieved in the past two campaigns.
Titles – 0
Final Days – 0
Coach: Dominic Cork – One of Derbyshire’s greatest players, he takes over as head coach after working with John Wright for the past two T20 campaigns. He captained Hampshire to the T20 title in 2010.
Captain: Billy Godleman – No longer just a stubborn red-ball opener, Godleman has blossomed into a white-ball blaster and went ‘Billy-istic’ in this season’s Royal London One-Day Cup, scoring 521 runs, including three centuries, at an average of 74. His unbeaten 107 from 62 balls at Headingley proved he is ready for Blast-off.
Overseas signings: Logan van Beek (New Zealand).
The Narrative: After Kane Richardson withdrew to focus on the World Cup, Derbyshire turned to another Aussie paceman Billy Stanlake only for injury to rule him out. It means Derbyshire will go into the Blast with only one overseas player.
Star Man: Matt Critchley – The 22-year-old is capable of ‘X factor’ performances as he showed last season when he smashed 22 off the final over by hitting Tim Bresnan for two sixes and two fours to carry The Falcons to an improbable victory at Chesterfield.
Mr Consistency: Wayne Madsen – His 526 runs at an average of 48 with four fifties in 2017 is a Derbyshire record and last season, he scored 328 runs with three more half-centuries. He has opened the bowling in some matches and his off-spin bagged 13 wickets two seasons ago.
Under the radar: Leus du Plooy – The 24-year-old South African is in his first season in English cricket but could be one to watch judging by his 75 off 37 balls, which included seven fours and five sixes, in the tied Royal London One-Day Cup game against Yorkshire in April. His left-arm spin provides the Falcons with another bowling option.
Killer stat: T20 cricket has not been a strong suit for Derbyshire in the past. They have only qualified for the quarter-finals twice and are the only county never to make Finals Day.
- Despite Derbyshire completing the double over Yorkshire in 2018, the White Rose county’s record against these opponents (P 28, W 16) is its best against any of the five counties which it has played most frequently.
- Derbyshire’s highest total in a T20 match in Yorkshire is 222 for five, made in 2010, but Yorkshire have never passed 200 in a home match against the same opponents.
- Batsmen from each of the two counties have scored a century in T20 matches in Yorkshire but none have done so in Derbyshire.
Yorkshire Diamonds v Loughborough Lightning
If Yorkshire Diamonds are to reach Finals Day in the Kia Super League for the first time this summer, Linsey Smith’s know-how may be vital.
In the last year of the KSL, the Diamonds are hoping to go out with a bang at Hove on September 1, a showpiece occasion the England left-arm spinner is pretty familiar with.
Smith has played each of the three finals so far, winning one title with the Southern Vipers in 2016 and then being runners-up with the Vipers in 2017 and again with Loughborough Lightning last summer.
The Middlesex-born 24-year-old, now with her third team in four years, is confident the Diamonds can break their duck and will obviously be doing all she can to carry them to glory.
“The group we’ve got here at Yorkshire, it’s really exciting,” said the nine-time T20 international.
“The local girls and the overseas, there’s bags of talent there.
“There’s also bags of experience. But it can only help us to have some experience of what it takes to get to Finals Day. You do learn from each year.
“We didn’t come out on top with the Lightning last year for example, but I learnt plenty from it, as I have with all the big games I’ve played in – for England or in this competition.
“Fingers crossed, we can go one step further with the Diamonds.”
Smith impressed with one for 21 from four overs in Tuesday’s opening-night defeat against reigning champions Surrey Stars at
Emerald Headingley and will return to the same venue on Sunday to take on her former team, Loughborough.
It forms part of a T20 double header with the Yorkshire men, with the KSL game starting at 11am.
Smith will come up against former team-mate Georgia Adams, the Lightning batter who has also played in all three finals to date.
“I was with Loughborough for a year and was at University there (studying sports coaching), so I know their set-up quite well,” continued Smith, who took the new ball against the Stars on Tuesday.
“It will be nice to play against them and hopefully get the win.
“They’ve got some new players as well, but there’s a few of my mates still in that team.
“It’s going to be a challenge for me over the next few weeks with it being a new team, but that’s no problem. I’m really looking forward to it and trying to build on last year.
“I felt I bowled well last year (11 wickets from as many games).
“I really enjoy bowling at the tough times in matches, in the power play for example, and coming out on top.”
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s Stars defeat saw another spinner shine for the Diamonds in Helen Fenby, the leg-spinner with an eye-catching action reminiscent of former South Africa men’s spinner Paul Adams.
Fenby returned standout figures of four for 20 from her four overs.
Fenby, who plays her regular county cricket for Durham, echoed Smith’s comments about the confidence within the Diamonds camp.
She added: “I had a good little bowling performance, but all the bowlers contributed well. It just wasn’t the best for us to have such a close game and not come out with the win.
“We have confidence going forward (as a team) because there were a lot of positives. We just have to see how the tournament goes from now.”
Diamonds team news
Katherine Brunt (back) continues to be rested at the ECB’s request, following a busy period of cricket and the conclusion of the recent women’s Ashes series.
Katie George is included in the squad having overcome a side strain, while Georgia Davis misses out.
57. Hollie Armitage
10. Helen Fenby
24. Katie George
6. Cordelia Griffith
77. Alyssa Healy (WK)
25. Bess Heath
24. Leigh Kasperek
42. Beth Langston
23. Katie Levick
48. Alice Davidson-Richards
5. Jemimah Rodrigues
50. Linsey Smith
58. Lauren Winfield ©
Kia Super League statistics
Head Coach: Dani Hazell
Captain: Lauren Winfield
Overseas: Alyssa Healy (Aus), Leigh Kasperek (NZ), Jemimah Rodrigues (Ind)
Last Year: An improvement on previous campaigns with three wins – but they’ll be looking higher up the table this time round. With two of the best players in world cricket, in Australian Alyssa Healy and Indian Jemimah Rodrigues, they’ll be a real threat with the bat in hand. Likewise, two English imports could be huge for them. If Linsey Smith and Katie George can replicate the kind of form they’ve both shown at different points in the KSL – or for England – they should be an all-round package. Look out for new coach Dani Hazell as well, her first time in the dug-out in the KSL and she’ll want to improve on how the Diamonds have gone in previous years.
First up: Surrey Stars, August 6, Headingley, 7pm.
Lauren Winfield (28, RHB, WK)
An opener by trade, it’s unclear where Winfield will slot into the Diamonds team as she continues to forget a place for herself in the England middle order. A World Cup winner in 2017, she’s lost her place since but remains an important squad player. Relishes the chance to lead her home county.
Katie George (20, LFM, RHB)
A quick, athletic, left-armer who swings it. Gold dust. Has struggled a bit with injury, having had three stress fractures to the back already. Has impressed in fits and bursts for England but the problem has been staying on the park. A natural athlete, she’s dynamite in the field and a move to Diamonds should give her a chance to lead the bowling attack.
Linsey Smith (24, SLA, LHB)
Probably the player who owes most to the KSL. Wasn’t included in the Southern Vipers’ initial squad back in 2016 but an injury to Fi Morris gave her a chance and she hasn’t looked back since. Been one of the most consistent performers in the tournament and has earned herself England recognition. Darts the ball in during the Powerplay overs. Now at Diamonds where she should get a chance to bowl the big overs regularly.
Alice Davidson-Richards (25, RM, RHB)
Bustling all-rounder who hits the bat harder than may be expected. Was previously a personal trainer in a gym. Has played six internationals for England and is on a Rookie Contract.
Katherine Brunt (34, RFM, RHB)
Still learning, developing and contributing at 34. Formerly an away-swing bowler she’s become more of a seamer, looking to use the pitch and utilising a fair number of cross-seam deliveries. Seen as a genuine all-rounder these days, she bats as high as No.5 for England.
Beth Langston (26, RFM, RHB)
A World Cup winner for England in 2017, this KSL will be Langston’s first as a non-contracted England player. Unlucky perhaps in that T20 doesn’t necessarily show off her best abilities. A quick bowler, she can hit the pitch hard. Has worked very hard on her batting and has become quite the all-rounder in county cricket.
Alyssa Healy (29, RHB, WK)
Very possibly the best T20 batter in the world. She won’t die wondering but has added consistency to her undoubted ball-striking abilities and took the World T20 by storm last winter, helping Australia to their first major title since 2014. A good bet for top scorer, if not quickest hundred.
Leigh Kasperek (27, OB, RHB)
Scottish-born New Zealand international who has, at times, been ranked as high as No.2 spinner in T20 cricket. Bowls with a lot of flight and guile and adds useful lower-order runs. Was the quickest women’s bowler to 50 IT20 wickets. Has played for Yorkshire in county cricket this season.
Jemima Rodrigues (18, RHB, OB)
Still only 18, Jemimah Rodrigues will surely go on to be on the best players in the world. Class at the top of the order, she made a name for herself after videos of her batting went viral. Generally a player with brilliant timing, she’ll look to find the gaps and could complement the brute strength of Alyssa Healy beautifully at the top of the order.
Bess Heath (18, RHB, WK)
Young top-order Derbyshire batter who made a sparky 24 batting at No.3 for the Diamonds against Loughborough last year. Can also keep wicket. Has been involved with the England Women’s Academy.
Katie Levick (27, LHB, RHB)
The leading wicket-taker in the history of county cricket, and top wicket-taker for Diamonds last year. Very reliable with the ball, wasn’t a million miles away from earning herself an international call for last winter’s ICC Women’s World T20.
Hollie Armitage (22, RHB, LB)
Has been involved with the England Women’s Academy. Toured with the senior team to Abu Dhabi in 2017, albeit on a developmental tour. Top-order batter, bowls some bouncy leg-spinners.
Cordelia Griffith (23, RHB)
Formerly of Essex, now plays for Middlesex. Top-order/middle-order bat. Played for Surrey Stars in the first two years of the KSL without getting in and showing what she could do.
Georgia Davis (20, OB, RHB)
Plays her county cricket for Warwickshire. Was involved with Southern Vipers in last year’s KSL. May find herself behind other spinners in the queue.
Helen Fenby (20, LB, RHB)
Young Durham-born leggie with an unconventional action. Has been involved with England Women’s Academy. Only took one wicket last season and will want to improve on that this year.
Finals Days: 2
The Narrative: Aiming to go one better than 2018, when their dominant form over the regular season saw them finish top of the KSL table with seven wins from 10 matches and earn a place in the final, only to lose out to Surrey Stars in the trophy match.
Coach: Rob Taylor – A left-arm seamer and a capable batsman, Taylor made 100 appearances in county cricket for Leicestershire and 68 in international cricket for Scotland, for whom he secured a place in national folklore when his unbeaten 46 against Kenya in Christchurch secured Scotland’s place at the 2015 World Cup. Head coach of Loughborough MCCU as well as Lightning.
Captain: Georgia Elwiss – An experienced all-rounder with more than 50 England caps to her name, the 28-year-old fast-medium bowler and middle-order batter has been Lightning’s captain since the launch of KSL in 2016. She has represented Melbourne Stars in the last two editions of the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia.
Chamari Atapattu (Sri Lanka)
Sri Lanka’s captain brings the experience of more than 150 international appearances in 50 and 20-over cricket. A strong top-order batter and useful medium-pace bowler, she made a sensational 178 not out against Australia at the 2017 World Cup, the third-highest individual score in women’s ODIs. Moves to Lightning from Yorkshire Diamonds.
Hayley Matthews (West Indies)
Still only 21, top-order batter and off-spin bowler Hayley made her international debut at just 16 and was the star of World T20 final two years later, hitting 66 off 45 balls as West Indies beat Australia to be crowned 2016 champions in India. A KSL finalist with Southern Vipers in 2017, she scored her first T20I hundred, against Ireland, earlier this summer.
Mignon du Preez (South Africa)
Mignon packs the experience of more than 200 international appearances for South Africa, half of them as captain, since her debut in 2007, scoring nearly 4,700 runs. A big name in domestic T20 cricket, Mignon was a KSL finalist alongside Matthews for Vipers in 2017 and has a strike rate of 102.4 over three seasons with Melbourne Stars in the Women’s Big Bash League.
Shabnim Ismael (South Africa)
Due to replace Hayley Matthews towards the end of the tournament when the West Indies star joins up with her national team, Shabnim is one of the fastest female bowlers in world cricket, having had a delivery timed at 128kph (80mph). A consistent top-quality bowler, she has taken more than 200 wickets in international cricket since her debut in 2007.
Amy Jones – An accomplished top-order batter and wicketkeeper who has become an outstanding international cricketer, posting 12 half-centuries for England in the last 15 months. In her fourth season with Lightning, her runs were key to several victories in 2018.
Kirstie Gordon – The breakout star of the 2018 KSL, the left-arm spinner rarely missed out, topping the competition wicket-takers’ list with 17 and earning an England call-up to the Womens’ World Twenty20 on the back of it.
Jenny Gunn – A veteran of more than 250 England appearances across all formats, Lightning’s 33-year-old senior pro went about her business with typically minimal fuss in 2018, contributing 14 wickets and useful runs batting at number seven.
Ways to follow
- Ball-by-ball BBC Radio Commentary…
- Via the club’s match centre below, including live stream…
- All you need to know ahead of Sunday’s double header…
Very breezy at first on Sunday, but winds should ease during the day. There will be a lot of dry and sunny weather, with just the slight chance of the odd isolated shower developing. Monday should be a largely dry day with a lot of sunshine and just the odd showers. Similar on Tuesday with mostly dry weather expected, although it will be a little cloudier.