YORKSHIRE VIKINGS moved into the qualification places in in the North Group of the NatWest T20 Blast after another brilliant piece of fielding secured a 14-run victory over Leicestershire Foxes at Headingley.
Having struggled to reach 168 for five after being put into bat, Yorkshire’s total looked under-par with Leicestershire openers Josh Cobb and Greg Smith racing to a 61-run opening stand in only 40 balls.
But just as they did at Old Trafford some weeks ago, an inspired piece of combination fielding between Adam Lyth and Aaron Finch at the long off boundary broke the partnership and prompted a collapse, with Leicestershire losing eight wickets for 93 runs in 11.3 overs to fall short of their target.
Against Lancashire, Lyth jumped in the air to stop a Tom Smith drive going for six and parried it straight to Finch, but this was even better with Lyth jumping higher to push the ball back into play and Finch claimed a superb catch by diving full-length to his right and took a one-handed grab.
It was described by former England captain Michael Vaughan as the “greatest ever” and – just like at Old Trafford – became the catalyst for Yorkshire fighting back to claim the victory that moved them into fourth, the final qualification berth for the quarter-finals.
Having suffered a 22-run defeat against Nottinghamshire Outlaws on Saturday, Yorkshire needed to win the first of three matches in four days.
Despite a late rally between Tim Bresnan and Richard Pyrah, which lifted another disappointing batting display, their total did not seem likely to trouble Leicestershire.
But despite Smith’s aggressive 56 off 49 ball, which included four fours and a six, they struggled to regain their composure after Finch’s catch with only Cobb and Tom Wells reaching double figures.
Yorkshire had been grateful to a return to form for captain Andrew Gale, who had scored only 35 runs in his previous five innings in this form of cricket, for steadying their innings when they looked to repeat their disappointing Trent Bridge display.
Gale top-scored for Yorkshire with 55 off 51 balls, which included five fours, which was his highest score in Twenty20 cricket since scoring 70 against the same opposition at Headingley two years ago.
But without Gale’s composure, Yorkshire’s innings may also have stuttered to a halt after they were restricted to only 35 runs in six overs during the middle period of their innings and needed a late rally between Bresnan and Pyrah to lift them to a competitive total.
Having reached 137 for five after 18 overs, Yorkshire looked set for a disappointing total only for their sixth wicket pair to share an unbroken stand of 45 off 21 balls, including adding 33 off the final two overs and 17 off the final over from Rob Taylor, who was brought into the attack after Nathan Buck was removed mid-over by the umpires for accidentally bowling a beamer at Pyrah.