Ireland overseas batsman Gareth Delany starred to dent Yorkshire’s Vitality Blast hopes as Leicestershire secured a thrilling chase of 189 to win by three wickets off the last ball at the Fischer County Ground, Grace Road.
Delany’s part-time leg-spin claimed two wickets, those of Adam Lyth for a superb 71 and Harry Brook, as the Vikings posted a commanding 188-6, also including a thumping 19-ball 44 for Jordan Thompson.
But the efforts of Lyth and Thompson with the bat were usurped by opener Delany and Foxes captain Colin Ackermann, who both hit blistering half-centuries to advance their chase from peril at 61-2 in the eighth over.
They shared 88 inside seven overs, with 28 coming off Thompson’s seamers, including three sixes, in the 14th – 119-3 to 147-3 – as the game really swung the hosts’ way.
Ben Mike eventually hit Lyth for a straight six off the last ball of the match, with three needed, to seal a home win.
Delany fell for 60 off 40 balls, only for Ackermann to steer the chase with 58 off 34 as the Vikings suffered their second defeat in six matches to go with two wins and two No Results.
Lyth was left defending nine off the last over with his off-spinners.
Yorkshire are now four points behind North Group leaders Nottinghamshire with as many games to play and two behind Monday’s opponents at Emerald Headingley, Lancashire, who occupy the second automatic qualifying place for the quarter-finals.
Leicestershire leap-frogged them into third place in the table.
After Yorkshire were invited to bat Lyth’s 46-ball knock with three sixes represented his third fifty in four Blast innings this summer.
He shared 70 inside seven overs for the second wicket with captain David Willey (27 off 17 balls) to advance from 28-1 in the fourth over.
Their running between the wickets was a particular feature on a ground with short straight boundaries but large square.
Unfortunately, the Vikings then slipped from 98-1 in the 10th to 124-5 in the 15th as Leicester squeezed with spin – the bowled 12 overs of spin in all.
Will Fraine was run out without facing a ball, while Willey was bowled and Lyth, who had earlier reached 50 off 24 balls on the way to his highest score of the T20 summer, and Brook were both caught in the deep.
Thompson then dominated a 64-run – off 31 balls – partnership with sixth-wicket partner Jonny Tattersall (22 not out) to end the innings in style.
Dropped twice on 20 and 34, he hit four sixes, successive off left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson in the 17th over and successive again off seamer Will Davis in the 18th.
Skipper Willey and Ben Coad took the new ball for the Vikings, with Coad making his first Blast appearance in a little over three years.
But it was the man who Coad had taken the new ball off, Matthew Fisher, who made the breakthrough when Harry Dearden dragged him to long-on – 19-1 in the fourth over.
Arron Lilley got Leicester moving with two sixes in a lusty 30 before pulling a waist high full toss from Jack Shutt down Brook’s throat at deep mid-wicket in the eighth over, leaving the score at 61-2.
But that was when Delany and South African Ackermann united to change the game.
They both hit the ball strongly down the ground, with one six from Ackermann off Thompson in the 14th a huge hit over the Grace Road pavilion.
Delaney reached 50 off 32 balls and Ackermann off 29.
However, the momentum was to swing again when Delany top-edged Willey behind – 149-3 after 14.3 overs, needing 40 off 33.
Tom Taylor then departed to Coad and Fisher struck twice in the 18th over to get Lewis Hill and Harry Swindells caught (164-6).
The target later became 20 off two overs, with Willey trapping Ackermann lbw on the way to nine needed off the last (180-7) from Lyth.
Lyth started the last over in tidy fashion, only for Mike to get hold of him off the final ball.