Warwickshire book Lord's berth
A late blast from Darren Maddy charged Warwickshire Bears to a four-wicket win over Yorkshire Carnegie and booked them a place against Somerset Sabres in next Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank 40 final at Lord’s.
With the Bears left needing 23 from the last three overs, it seemed a tense finale was in the offing.
However, Maddy kept his cool and hit a couple of lusty blows to lead his side to victory with an unbeaten 34.
Defeat was a bitter blow for skipper Andrew Gale and his Yorkshire side after another great century from Jacques Rudolph.
However, they have the opportunity to make amends by lifting the LV= County Championship title in the final round of matches next week.
Chasing a revised target of 260 in 37 overs under the Duckworth-Lewis method, Warwickshire were well in control until they slid from 203 for two to 216 for five.
The last three overs arrived with Warwickshire still requiring 23 to win.
But the issue was effectively settled by Maddy, who lashed Steve Patterson for consecutive sixes over midwicket and long-leg.
Rikki Clarke was bowled two balls later but the pressure was now off and two fours for Maddy off Anthony McGrath in the penultimate over saw the Bears home with seven balls remaining.
Maddy's effort spanned just 19 deliveries, including three fours and two sixes, but its importance can not be underestimated.
Prior to his efforts, the stage the set by Warwickshire's top four, all of whom made significant contributions.
In pursuit of the reduced target, Neil Carter and Varun Chopra lashed 65 from the first seven overs, before the former was lbw to Ben Sanderson for 40.
However, Yorkshire were unable to put their opponents under any real pressure thereafter.
Keith Barker, surviving two difficult chances to Gale, struck 34 in a 52-run stand with Chopra and was then well caught by wicketkeeper Gerard Brophy.
That dismissal only brought in a determined Ian Bell to the crease, though, and the England man proceeded to dominate a fourth-wicket partnership of 86 with Chopra.
He dashed to a 49-ball 57 with four fours and three sixes when he was superbly caught on the boundary by Jonathan Bairstow, before Adil Rashid claimed another wicket in the same over by having Jim Troughton caught at long-off.
Chopra’s fine innings ended when he drove Patterson to McGrath at mid-off for 76 from 81 balls, including five fours and a six, but the mounting excitement of the Yorkshire fans
was soon quelled by Maddy.
A short delay to the start made it a 39-overs-a-side match and a total of four more overs were lost for a break during the Yorkshire innings which was given a positive start by Gale and Rudolph.
Once the early overs from Carter and Chris Woakes had been safely negotiated, the pair flourished and each took a six off Woakes as the stand built up to 73 in 12 overs.
Skipper Gale then drove Barker to Clarke at long-on, signalling a lean spell in which Adam Lyth was dismissed by Ant Botha and McGrath was caught behind of Imran Tahir.
However, either side of their departures Rudolph moved to a 46-ball half-century with five fours and a six.
After Yorkshire had gone 13 overs without a boundary, Brophy ended the drought by planting the last ball of Botha’s spell into the crowd.
That proved the start of a furious assault by the wicketkeeper-batsman as he dominated a 99-run stand in 12 overs with Rudolph, who calmly worked his way towards his fourth CB40 century of the season.
Brophy had dashed to 64 from 46 balls with four fours and four sixes when Barker had him caught at long-off by Troughton to make it 212 for three with a little over three overs remaining.
But Bairstow made sure Yorkshire finished with a flourish as he thrashed an unbeaten 26 from nine deliveries with two fours and two sixes.
The biggest cheer was reserved for Rudolph when he cut Barker to move to his century off 93 balls.
He fell for 106 to the last ball of the innings bravely attempting to complete a second run off Bairstow’s stroke.