Boje salvages tie in free-hit drama
Herschelle Gibbs’ first century in Twenty20 cricket was not enough to earn Yorkshire Carnegie a win as Nicky Boje somehow snatched Northamptonshire Steelbacks a tie at Wantage Road.
Gibbs hammered a magnificent 101 not out off 53 balls with his explosive knock, including five sixes and eight fours, as Yorkshire made an imposing 180 for three off their 20 overs.
Improbably, with Northants needing 13 off the final ball, Rich Pyrah’s no ball was clouted for six by Boje over long-on, with Gibbs’ former South Africa team-mate smashing the next delivery through midwicket for four to claim a share of the points.
Yorkshire won the toss and chose to bat first, but they got off to a bad start when, in the third over, Adam Lyth launched Chaminda Vaas to Alex Wakely at extra cover.
Captain Jacques Rudolph made 14 before chipping Boje's spin to skipper Andrew Hall at extra cover.
But Gibbs made it to 50 off just 28 balls as he continued to punish the Steelbacks attack.
He and Anthony McGrath added 58 runs together for the third wicket before the latter, who made 16, hammered Lee Daggett to David Willey at long-on.
After his dismissal, the visitors really cut loose with Gibbs and Jonathan Bairstow blasting 73 runs between them in the last five overs.
Bairstow smashed two sixes in consecutive balls off Vaas in the penultimate over on his way to an unbeaten 32 off 14 balls, with Gibbs claiming his century in the final over from 53 balls.
Chasing 181, Steelbacks openers David Sales and Vaas raced to 50 off just 27 balls as they took the game to the Yorkshire attack.
Former West Indies paceman Tino Best finally made the breakthrough when he forced Sales, who was just one short of an elusive half-century, to edge to wicketkeeper Gerard Brophy.
The in-form Vaas did make his fifty, off 38 balls including two sixes, before smashing Adil Rashid to Azeem Rafiq at midwicket.
Zimbabwe international Elton Chigumbura made 11 before lobbing Pyrah to deep midwicket as the wheels began to fall off the Northants chase.
Two wickets by McGrath in the penultimate over threatened to seal the hosts’ fate as Niall O’Brien, who made 26 off 13 balls, was caught by Lyth at long-off before Hall smashed him to Pyrah for 12.
But Boje, in a key 13 not out, struck a six and a four off the last two deliveries to claim an unlikely tie.