Adam Lyth’s stunning 60 ball century saw Yorkshire chase down an imposing total of 311 to beat Northants by two wickets at Scarborough, despite Ben Duckett hitting his maiden one-day century for the Steelbacks.
Duckett and captain Alex Wakely, who made 71, shared a stand of 166 as Northants recovered from a shaky start to post 310-7. Duckett reached his century at a run a ball, having fallen two short against Lancashire last Wednesday.
It appeared a competitive total, but Lyth smashed a 60 ball century, 80 of which came inside the opening powerplay. Although he eventually fell for 125, his innings had put Yorkshire ahead of the rate and despite losing eight wickets, Gary Balance’s 80 saw them home with 15 balls to spare
Former Northants man David Willey finished the contest by hitting Steven Crook for six, and the defeat leaves the Steelbacks on three points from their opening four games, with just one win to their name as the competition takes a break before resuming next month.
But for a remarkable display of top order hitting from Lyth, it might have been a different story after Duckett continued his fine recent form, having also recorded a t20 career best on Friday night at Worcester following his one-day 98. As he did against Lancashire, his innings had started by having to rebuild after Northants slipped to 37-2 in the opening powerplay.
Willey, playing his first game against Northants, removed Adam Rossington LBW in the fourth over whilst Josh Cobb was Brilliantly caught by Kane Williamson at midwicket for 23.
This time it was Wakely that Duckett found as able company. The pair first stabilised the innings in tricky overcast conditions before launching the acceleration that was the platform that saw Northants pass 300.
That score looked a tough task at 74-2 from 20 overs. After taking 80 balls to reach their 50 partnership, however, the pair dramatically accelerated, doubling their stand in a little over five overs. Duckett reached his half century 61 balls before Wakely followed, a ball quicker, lifting Adil Rashid for his second six having earlier put Steven Paterson over his head.
The normally quiet middle overs of 21-30 cost 84 in total as the pair set a new record for a third wicket stand against Yorkshire, but soon after passing 150 at a run a ball, Wakely fell in the 36th over, giving Lyth a simple return catch.
Keogh quickly followed, edging Plunkett to slip without score, but Duckett made sure he reached his three figures against the white ball for the first time, coming up off exactly 100 balls as he turned Rashid into the leg side. He added a further 21, with 15 fours and two sixes, one flicking Willey over square leg, before holing out in the deep off Rashid.
Steven Crook and Rob Newton added exactly 50 to ensure Northants passed 300, Crook never quite finding his timing in his unbeaten 46, whilst Newton lifted two leg side sixes before being caught.
Lunchtime saw the sun come out by the seaside, and Lyth took advantage of the improved conditions as he exploded out the blocks. 16 off Richard Gleeson’s third over signalled the start of the onslaught and the carnage continued as he hit five maximums in an 18 ball spell, three of which came in a single Ben Sanderson over.
By the end of the tenth over Lyth had already hit eight fours and seven sixes as Yorkshire raced to 97-0, the pair moving onto 107 before Alex Lees hit Crook high into the air. Kane Williamson quickly followed as he chopped Richard Gleeson onto his stumps, but Lyth was able to cruise his way to a century off just 60 balls.
Lyth eventually departed, holing out to long-on off Graeme White, and his wicket saw a collapse of three wickets in nine balls, Jack Leaning chipping his second back to Josh Cobb before Rashid slapped White straight to long-on.
It would only be a bump in the road for Yorkshire, however, as Ballance and Tim Bresnan showed all their experienced to ease any home nerves with a partnership of 50, Ballance playing the holding role whilst Bresnan hit four fours and a six in his 38.
Bresnan skewed Graeme White to cover, with 61 still required, but Willey joined Ballance and hit former teammates White and Crook for sixes as the victory line approached.
Still Northants didn’t give in and there was almost a late twist, as Azharullah bowled Ballance and Liam Plunkett in the space of three balls, but Willey pulled Crook high for a third six to record the winning runs.