An Aaron Finch special silenced a packed Emirates Old Trafford and fired Yorkshire to a stunning NatWest T20 Blast win over old foes Lancashire last night.
The Australian, ranked the number one batsman in the world in the short-form of the game, had to contend with the loss of captain Andrew Gale in the first over of the chase of 180 as he made 88 off 55 balls, including five sixes.
There was controversy at the end as Lancashire were penalised six penalty runs for not bowling their overs on time, with the target going from 15 off the last over to nine off the last.
Jonny Bairstow’s 19 not out off 13 was crucial, although Rich Pyrah hit the winning runs with a six over cover point off Kabir Ali, sealing a five-wicket win with three balls to spare in front of 16,000 fans.
Finch and measured Alex Lees shared 99 for the second wicket to recover the score from 3-1 and win their second North Division match in four.
Finch even became the first man to hit The Point Conference facility with a six twice in a Jordan Clark over as Yorkshire reached 128-2 after 15 overs and, for the first time in the contest, were classed as favourites.
Junaid Khan bowled an excellent penultimate over, but the sloppy hosts were undone by their lack of awareness, although they will no doubt complain about a lengthy delay while Tim Bresnan attended to a problem with his helmet.
“We were slow at times, but it’s very hard to judge,” said Paul Horton. “Aaron Finch had three glove changes and I didn’t say no to that, Alex Lees had one and I didn’t say no to that.
“When there’s a call of that magnitude, you’ve got to make sure that it’s right.”
Tom Smith smashed 55 off 28 balls, and brought up the equal fastest fifty in Lightning T20 history off 22 balls, before captain Horton’s 60 off 45 boosted the hosts to a commanding 179-6 after electing to bat.
Smith smashed Jack Brooks for a six and two fours at the start of the fourth over before hitting Pyrah for four fours from the start of the fifth as Lancashire reached the powerplay at 65-1.
Yorkshire dragged it back well through the next four overs as they only conceded 15 runs, including the dismissal of Smith brilliantly caught at long-off by a combination of Adam Lyth and Finch off Adil Rashid.
Lyth parried the ball to Finch before diving over the boundary rope.
Finch and Lees were excellent as they recovered from the loss of Gale in the first over, with the former explosive and the latter controlled on the way to 36.
Finch then hit the Point with two monster blows before Bairstow then took 15 off Tom Smith in the 18th over as the target become 20 off two. Then came the time controversy.
Yorkshire host Nottinghamshire in the LV= County Championship at Headingley tomorrow looking for their second win on the spin.