Regardless of Yorkshire’s recent performances in T20, where they have managed to linger ‘there or thereabouts’ and then strike just as you think the horse has already bolted, tonight’s performance against Durham was comprehensive.
From the word go – or play if you will – Yorkshire looked determined to feature in this game. Adam Lyth scored a career-best 87 from just 54 balls to make sure that all of those coming in down the order had a springboard from which to operate.
The lowest strike-rate featured on the Yorkshire batting card was 100.00, the highest 290.90 by Jack Leaning! Despite being slightly out of form of late, the young batsman strode to the crease with the comfort of Lyth at the other end and struck 32 from just 11 balls.
It was these contributions – along with David Willey’s 32 from 14 and Travis Head’s 34 from 24 – that got Yorkshire to their highest total in T20 cricket this season, and the second highest total in English domestic T20 cricket this season.
An astonishing 223-6 saw all of the Durham bowlers smashed around the ground. Usman Arshad – usually so reliable a spin-bowler – ended with no wickets for his four overs but a very steep, 63 runs.
Chris Rushworth and Ryan Pringle would be considered the most economical bowlers of the Durham line-up, with figures of 2-41 and 1-21 respectively, but even they could not make enough of an in-road into the Yorkshire batsmen.
In terms of consolation, it didn’t seem to matter where they bowled; Yorkshire struck 20 fours and 11 sixes collectively. However, Durham failed to optimise on wicket-taking opportunities – six catches were put down and that has a massive impact on the scoreboard and the team morale.
Paul Collingwood was omitted from the squad this evening due to split webbing but even the brilliance of his batting, fielding and captaincy experience – seemingly he’s pretty brilliant all round – couldn’t have changed the way this match was going to go.
Durham’s Mark Stoneman and Phil Mustard came out to bat and mercilessly punished Tim Bresnan’s first over for 17 striking two fours a-piece. This sort of onslaught could hardly be maintained, though, and soon Yorkshire started to chip away at the wickets.
Karl Carver took two wickets in an over, although the filling in this sandwich was admittedly two maximums. He finished with career-best figures of 3-40 but accolades should be paid to Liam Plunkett as well, who finished with 1-13 from his four overs.
Arshad fought back on a disappointing bowling display with some impressive batting, and lost his wicket in the final over trying – admittedly in vain by this point – to keep a high run-rate up and score some boundaries.
If tonight’s performance was anything to go by, Friday night’s clash against table-toppers Northants could be a real corker.
Man of the match
How can one deny career-best figures? Admittedly there were two Yorkshiremen who managed this tonight but Adam Lyth’s 87 from 54 was undeniably the inspiration, motivation and starting-blocks that the team needed to get this must-win game in the bag.