Yorkshire secured an important, if expected, Vitality Blast victory by six wickets over struggling Northamptonshire at Emerald Headingley to boost their quarter-final hopes.

The Vikings won for the sixth time in 10 North Group matches to strengthen their position in the top four on 12 points, and it was done without any significant alarm.

Winless Northants have now lost eight from nine this campaign and rarely threatened as they limped to 129-7 in front of a 9,152 crowd.

Yorkshire fell to 22-2 inside five overs of their chase, but overseas star Kane Williamson steered them home with 52 not out from 44 balls, finishing the game with eight balls remaining.

The hesitant Steelbacks elected to bat and never got going against an on-song home attack, albeit on an unusually sluggish pitch.

New ball seamers David Willey and, in particular, Jack Brooks set the tone against their former county, with the latter having a hand in both wickets as the score slipped to 16-2 in the fourth over.

Brooks had Richard Levi caught behind and ran out Josh Cobb at the non-striker’s end having got a hand on a Ben Duckett straight drive.

Only debutant Charlie Thurston, with 41, batted with any confidence against a Yorkshire side who he made his one-day debut against here in June and hit 53 then.

In this clash, he pulled his third ball for six off Steve Patterson – the first of only three in the innings for a Steelbacks side who looked a shadow of the outfit which won this competition in 2013 and again in 2016.

Each member of Yorkshire’s five-man attack – Brooks, Willey, Patterson, Azeem Rafiq and Jordan Thompson, struck. Only Brooks went at more than seven an over.

The Vikings caught well, while their ground fielding was superb.

Two boundary saves off Brooks in the 18th over from Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Rafiq at third-man and wide long-leg really stood out.

There was also a light-hearted moment when club mascot Vinny the Viking helped to tackle a pitch invader midway through the visitors innings.

Willey returned the pick of Yorkshire’s figures with 1-20 from four overs, including a superb 19th over which went for only three, while Patterson finished with 2-26 having got Thurston caught at deep cover in the last. Thurston hit two of Northants’ three sixes.

England Lions seamer Richard Gleeson then gave Northants a glimmer by getting Adam Lyth caught behind two balls into the Yorkshire chase before Willey was run out going for two in the fifth.

However, in Williamson, Yorkshire have a batsman perfect for that situation.

He lost Kohler-Cadmore for 27 in the 10th over with the score on 57.

The target then became 49 off the last seven overs with Williamson and Gary Ballance together. They shared 51 for the fourth wicket.

Kiwi Williamson then reached his second successive fifty off 42 balls with a second six.

The North Group table is heavily congested, with three points separating the top five teams. Worcestershire are top on 13, while champions Nottinghamshire are fifth on 10.

Third-placed Yorkshire have Notts and fellow challengers Lancashire to play in their remaining four fixtures.

They host Lancashire at Headingley on Thursday before travelling to Trent Bridge to face Notts 24 hours later.

The Vikings then travel to Wantage Road the following Thursday and round off their campaign against Notts at Headingley the following evening.

It means Yorkshire still have work to do to qualify, but it is all in their own hands.

An image of Lauren Winfield-Hill and Adil Rashid, with the Yorkshire logo and Northern Diamonds logo in the middle

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