Skipper Tim Bresnan took Yorkshire’s first ever Twenty20 six-wicket haul and effected a run-out in the final over to seal the second leg of the first ever Roses double for Yorkshire at Headingley, the Yorkshire Diamonds having triumphed over Lancashire Thunder earlier in the day.
Young leg spinner Matt Parkinson kept Lancashire in the vital clash with four wickets in just 16 deliveries, but the veteran all-rounder produced the best figures in Yorkshire Twenty20 history under a sponge of rain to give a record-breaking finish to a terrific day of cricket.
Yorkshire’s intent was clear from the beginning, when Tom Kohler-Cadmore belted Steven Croft’s second ball into the stands underneath the pavilion for six.
Lyth joined the party an over later, swinging through his hips to dispatch Junaid Khan over square leg. He crunched the final ball of Khan’s over for a straight six, which teased two converging fielders.
Long-standing fans of Adam Lyth’s were reminded of his superb relay catches with Aaron Finch three years ago. Lancashire came nowhere near to repeating those memorable moments.
The carnage continued for the visiting side, with both Lyth and Kohler-Cadmore clearing and finding the boundary ropes with ease. The highlights came thick and fast, and Lancashire’s prize overseas seamer Ryan McLaren was reduced to a bowling machine as Lyth took him for 20 off the fifth over, including a six over long on that reached the second tier.
A squally rain moved across the ground towards the end of the powerplay, but the Yorkshire fans’ enthusiasm was unabated as Lyth crunched an uppish cut to Junaid Khan to set the welcome pyrotechnics flaring once more.
As Croft skipped through to plan D in his mind, Stephen Parry was welcomed to the bowling attack with a belting six from Kohler-Cadmore.
Lyth reached 50 with a brace off his 31st delivery, but perished in the same over when he failed to clear Liam Livingstone on the boundary edge. Livingstone turned to the Yorkshire supporters behind him and blew them a kiss, acknowledging their jeers for previously sliding on the wet surface.
To avoid further conflict, no doubt, the umpires swiftly ushered the players off the field as the rain grew denser.
The game restarted less than half an hour later. The delay worked to Lancashire’s advantage, as they had time to regroup, and young leg spinner Matt Parkinson (whose first-class average is better than Mason Crane’s, incidentally) had Kohler-Cadmore caught on the straight boundary by his captain, for his second scalp of the evening.
He took his third in his third over, and it was another batsman (this time David Willey) hitting overconfidently into the wind and being caught comfortably on the boundary.
Sarfraz Ahmed followed for 3 when Croft sprinted 35 yards from his position on the rope, to take a brilliant diving catch. Parkinson finished with 4-23, excellent returns especially considering the fortunes of his more experienced teammates.
Despite the stuttering middle overs and lacklustre finish, Yorkshire still posted 182-7 thanks to the blazing start from the openers.
Liam Livingstone flickered a candle at the start of the run chase, but Tim Bresnan deceived him and had both Livingstone and Karl Brown caught in his first over. He could have added Aaron Lilley with the final delivery, but Sarfraz Ahmed failed to hold on diving to his right.
Lilley was given another life by Sarfraz on one, when the Pakistan captain failed to complete a fairly simple stumping. In the end, it took a gravity-defying screamer from Jack Leaning on the boundary. Open a new tab and find the video of it now. You’ll thank me.
Go on, I’ll wait.
Ready? Jos Buttler arrived at the crease with his unique blend of humility and swagger, clearing the ropes with his third ball. After he was caught and bowled by Pattrerson, Steven Croft played an admirable lone hand in Lancashire’s chase.
His demise, though, also came in the form of redemption for Sarfraz Ahmed. With Croft on 62, and his team needing 58 off 23 for victory, he was stumped off Adil Rashid and the White Rose fans were settling in for the formalities of a comfortable win.
Tim Bresnan destroyed Ryan McLaren’s off stump in the next over, as a second wave of rain began to drift aesthetically over the stadium. A beer snake broke up in the Western Terrace, voices slurred with beer and victory-induced merriment chanted along to ‘Hey Jude’, and the rain thickened and quickened as the end approached.
Captain Bresnan was tasked with defending 23 off the final over, and he had two batsmen holed out on the boundary, ran out Stephen Parry, and bowled Junaid Khan to keep his team in the running for a quarter-final spot and crucially secure bragging rights at the end of a difficult week for Yorkshire.