Lancashire 231-4 (Brown 69; Finch 1-9) beat Yorkshire 202-8 (Bresnan 51; Parry 4-29) by 29 runs, at Emirates Old Trafford
At Old Trafford on Friday night, a capacity crowd witnessed a game that laughed in the face of the supposed ills of English domestic T20 cricket.
The Roses clash had it all – fours, sixes, catches and a captivated audience who cheered every blow, every misfield and every rendition of the Fratellis’s ‘Chelsea Dagger’ with the kind of verve and enthusiasm that is so lauded in the IPL and Big Bash.
Lancashire were superb from start to finish and were the team celebrating at the end of a fantastic game of cricket.
Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale raised eyebrows at the toss when he elected to bowl and, when the first over disappeared for 16, he might have been having second thoughts. Lancashire were relentless in their aggressive batting and, helped by brilliant half-centuries from Ashwell Prince and
Karl Brown, posted their highest ever T20 score of 231-4.
Despite matching Lancashire for much of the powerplay overs, wickets fell at regular intervals during the Yorkshire chase and, due to the immense scoreboard pressure Lancashire had exerted, a home win was always the firm favourite.
And so it proved despite a superb rear-guard performance from Tim Bresnan – who became the second Vikings batsman to worry the corporate crowd gathered on The Point.
Lancashire started full of aggressive intent and smashed 16 off Glenn Maxwell’s first over, including a big six into the pavilion by Prince. They carried on from there and had their best powerplay of the season – ending the first six overs on 75-0. In the first over without the fielding restrictions, Paul Horton fell caught at cover off Maxwell for a well-made 27.
The loss of his opening partner didn’t stop Prince’s momentum. The South African, who became the first man to score 1000 County runs this season in midweek, brought up his 50 from just 26 balls and hit four big sixes on the way. He fell for 59 after 9.5 overs when he spooned a Richard Pyrah delivery straight up into the gloves of Jonny Bairstow. Lancashire had made 104-2 off their first ten overs and looked well set to post a big total.
Karl Brown picked up where Prince had left off and took Yorkshire apart, dispatching them to every part of Old Trafford. In the 12th over, bowled by Richard Pyrah, Brown hit the first three balls for six and took 27 off the over on his way to a 25-ball 69.
When the hard-hitting right-hander departed after 14.5 overs, Lancashire were 169-3 and Alex Davies picked up the mantle of accelerating the score even further. 13 runs came off James Middlebrook’s 16th over and, despite the loss of Davies for 22 (14), Steven Patterson’s 18th over disappeared for 16 to leave Lancashire a run shy of their best total against Yorkshire and 23 short of their best ever.
Steven Croft’s 16-ball 27 ensured they posted their record and set Yorkshire the task of breaking their highest successful run chase in T20 cricket.
With Aaron Finch in their side, Yorkshire must have felt any score is in their reach and, despite a poor start with just two off the first over, Finch was soon into his stride. After four overs, Yorkshire were level with Lancashire’s total at the same stage on 42-0 and by the end of the powerplay had reached 63-0 with Finch on 33. Momentum seemed to be with the visitors, especially when Stephen Parry dropped a fairly simple chance to remove Gale in the final over of the powerplay.
The left-arm spinner was soon to make amends with a pivotal over. First, he had the powerful Finch caught in the deep by Arron Lilley for 33 before he also removed Yorkshire’s other destructive Australian Glenn Maxwell when he was caught behind. That left Yorkshire 67-2 and in need of a touch of rebuilding.
With the in-form Jonny Bairstow at the crease, the Vikings were still fancying their chances – especially when he launched Parry against the windows of The Point in the ninth over. Bairstow would also lose his partner when Gale was brilliantly run out for 35 by a direct hit from by Lilley from long on.
Yorkshire needed 140 from 60 balls but Gale’s replacement Andrew Hodd came and went as Parry claimed his third wicket to leave Yorkshire stuttering on 93-4.
Bairstow became the wicket Lancashire most wanted. Step forward captain Steven Croft who bowled a surprise seamer which bamboozled Bairstow as his stumps were re-arranged and Lancashire were running riot. The England international had made 26 but his departure seemed to end Yorkshire’s hopes as they were 102-5, still needing another 130 to win from 58 balls.
Wickets continued to tumble as Jack Leaning and Richard Pyrah fell quickly to leave their side 140-7.
With three overs to go, the total had moved to 153-7 and the requirement was 79 runs from 18 balls. The game had gone but Yorkshire didn’t go down without a fanfare. They scored 49 runs in the last four overs and Tim Bresnan brought up a scintillating 50 off just 23 balls including five sixes.
Unfortunately for the Vikings it was nothing but a consolation as they ended on 202-8, giving
Lancashire victory by 29 runs.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Karl Brown just edges Ashwell Prince and Stephen Parry as the standout performer. His innings was a joy to watch and the way in which he smashed Richard Pyrah for 27 off one over epitomised the way Lancashire went about their work. His score of 69 was crucial to the winning total and was the
top man in this game.