Yorkshire down and almost out
Yorkshire’s chances of reaching the quarter-finals of the Friends Life t20 quarter-finals were all but extinguished at Headingley Carnegie, where they went down by six wickets with 11 balls remaining to North Group leaders Nottinghamshire.
The only bright moment for Yorkshire came when 26-year-old debutant fast bowler, Iain Wardlaw, gave them brief hope by getting rid of Riki Wessels and Tamim Iqbal in the space of four balls after they had put on 61 in seven overs for the second wicket as Notts chased a modest target of 153 on a good pitch.
Wardlaw, who plays for Bradford League club Cleckheaton, was recommended to Yorkshire by their skipper Andrew Gale. He was a late replacement for Ryan Sidebottom, who was suffering from a stomach bug.
Before Wardlaw’s double strike, Notts had already been given an encouraging start by Tamim and Alex Hales, who added 41 in six overs before Hales was caught at cover point by Anthony McGrath off Richard Pyrah.
Wardlaw took his maiden wicket when Wessels skied to Adam Lyth at deep mid-off to depart for 27 from 20 balls, and in the same over he had opener Tamim also held by Lyth, this time at long-on, for 47 from 37 deliveries, with five fours and two sixes.
Adam Voges was bowled reverse-sweeping Azeem Rafiq to leave Notts 105 for four, but Chris Read and Scott Elstone knocked off the remaining runs with little trouble.
Read virtually settled the issue by blasting Pyrah for consecutive sixes over midwicket to finish unbeaten on 26 from 15 balls, while Elstone faced the same number for his 21 not out.
Once again, Yorkshire had their captain to thank for holding the innings together, Gale making 62 off 55 balls with five fours and a six before Jonathan Bairstow upped the tempo later on with a four and three sixes in his unbeaten 41 from 26 deliveries.
It was Gale’s fourth half-century in the competition this season; he remains the only Yorkshire batsman to have reached 50.
Winning the toss, Yorkshire lost a wicket in the second over when Joe Sayers was brilliantly caught left-handed by the diving Wessels at short extra-cover, but early runs still came at a healthy rate as Lyth took consecutive boundaries off Andre Adams and Gale smacked Darren Pattinson for two fours and a six, the seamer going for 45 off three overs.
Yorkshire’s good work in front of a 4,904 crowd was quickly undone as both Lyth and Gary Ballance were run out, and the out-of-form, McGrath, recalled to the side at the expense of Joe Root, edged a cut at Graeme White into Read’s gloves.
Both Lyth and Bairstow were made to work hard for their runs and Bairstow’s four off Voges was the first to be added in nine overs.
Gale completed his fifty off 47 balls but the end came when he scooped Adams around the corner to Luke Fletcher.
Bairstow began to hit out and drove Pattinson for two towering sixes, but he enjoyed a life in the same over when Steven Mullaney caught him on the boundary off a no-ball.
Ajmal Shahzad also weighed in with 15 from 10 balls but Yorkshire still finished short of a really competitive total.