Warwickshire (284-5 off 47.2 overs) beat Yorkshire (281-8 off 50 overs) by five wickets with 16 balls to spare.
Warwickshire finished a dismal One Day Cup season with a win over Yorkshire who, with Worcestershire beating Durham, had their hopes of a top table placing and a home semi-final severely dented.
The home side’s bowling was enough to contain Yorkshire to a below par score and their fallible batting for once fired on all cylinders.
Yorkshire won the toss and batted on a bright and breezy Edgbaston day. The pitch was so far over towards the Hollies Stand that, with the following wind, an uncouth batsman could probably have spat into the River Rea.
Despite losing their last six games and sitting bottom of the table, Warwickshire fielded an unchanged side. The apparent debutant named on the scorecard as Petal proved to be none other than Jeetan Patel in disguise. Yorkshire fielded nine international players plus the promising Matthew Waite and Azeem Rafiq.
Yorkshire got off to the worst possible start when, first ball, Adam Lyth edged a full length delivery from Keith Barker and was caught high up by Tim Ambrose.
Jonny Bairstow was probably salivating at the thought of the short boundary but before he could make use of it, he tried to work Rikki Clarke to leg, mis-timed it and lobbed the ball to mid-on where Grant Thornton judged a low catch well.
Peter Handscomb promised much but then played an airy back foot drive off Barker and was caught behind. Joe Root and Gary Ballance did their best to steady things. Root drove crisply and reached his fifty off 60 balls. He viciously square cut Mark Adair and was dropped by Aaron Thomason at backward point.
Keith Barker completed his ten overs for 39 runs and two wickets and then, somewhat dubiously, retired from the scene and left the fielding to a younger, nimbler 12th man.
Ballance never quite got going and on 22 pulled a Grant Thornton delivery straight to Jeetan Patel at long leg.
When Root, no doubt much to Thomason’s relief, edged behind a good length ball from Clarke, Yorkshire were teetering on the edge of an inadequate total. They were rescued by Matthew Waite and Tim Bresnan who added 116 in 15 overs.
Waite started unsteadily but, once he settled in, showed a good range of shots. Meantime, Tim Bresnan demonstrated how the short boundary could be exploited. He had some luck when Ateeq Javid at deep square leg failed to take a difficult running catch off Thomason and the ball went for six.
When Waite hit Thornton for successive sixes, Yorkshire began to smell a 300-plus total. But Bresnan fell for 65 when he hit Patel to wide mid-on where Jonathan Trott took a stinging catch. Then Willey pulled Thornton to deep square leg. Had he been batting at the other end, the ball would have gone into the river but, on dry land, Patel was waiting for the catch.
Waite fell to a briefly juggled catch at long on by Adair off Thornton for a career best 71. So Yorkshire had to settle for 281-8, a total that was better than it might have been but still looked dangerously low with that short boundary beckoning.
Of the bowlers, Barker and Patel starred with a combined 3-71 off their 20 overs. Thornton took three fairly expensive wickets. His windmill action with both arms twirling is reminiscent of Warwickshire bowling coach Alan Richardson at his best.
The Warwickshire fielding was variable. Aside from the two dropped catches, there were several misfields including a real shocker from Adair.
Warwickshire got off to a flying start thanks to Trott and Sam Hain who both drove anything over-pitched. The words “Trott” and “dazzling” have not often been used together, except maybe when the sun has been shining on his bald pate. But they could certainly be applied to this innings as he and Hain put on 124 for the first wicket. When Trott skied Waite to Bairstow, he had scored 70 off 69 balls, with eight fours and two sixes.
Azeem Rafiq found a good line and length with his off-spin and claimed a double reward when he bowled both Hain for 55 and Ambrose for nought with well-flighted deliveries. An uncomfortable little innings by Ateeq Javid was ended by an ugly leg-side shot. At 167-4 in the 30th over put the game on an even keel.
Bell and Clarke wrested the initiative back with a sensibly paced stand. They deployed a full range of shots – pulls, cuts, drives, reverse sweeps were all on show. Rafiq kept them slightly in check with 3-35 off his ten impressive overs but it was not enough to stop the victory charge.
Finally, in an attempt at a glorious finale, Bell hit three fours off Waite and, going for his hundred and the winning runs, skied to deep square leg. His 98 came off 85 balls with 11 fours and three sixes.
No matter, Warwickshire were soon home by 5 wickets with 16 balls to spare. They will reflect on a One Day Cup season where they won their first and last games and lost the rest. Yorkshire, meanwhile have one more chance to clinch that top spot.