Courageous Miller shows Yorkshire grit
David Miller bravely defied a nasty blow to the face to lead Yorkshire to a valuable five-wicket win over Sri Lankan outfit Uva Next in their opening Champions League T20 qualifying match at the Wanderers.
Miller, the White Rose’s star performer at Friends Life t20 finals day, was forced to retire hurt in the 13th over of his side’s chase, having inside-edged an Umar Gul bouncer straight into his nose.
Yorkshire’s pursuit of 151 lost momentum thereafter, despite Adil Rashid’s excellent unbeaten 36, but, with 18 needed from 10 deliveries, Miller returned to the crease and struck three consecutive boundaries off Dilshan Munaweera to all but settle proceedings.
Victory was duly completed with three balls to spare, Miller finishing on 39 not out from 29 deliveries, and Jason Gillespie’s men are now in a healthy position as they look to seal a place in the tournament proper.
Munaweera had earlier picked up the wickets of Phil Jaques, another key contributor with 32 at the top of the order, and Gary Ballance in successive balls to put Uva on top after they had posted 150 for seven.
That total was built around solid contributions from the top three and an unbeaten 29 from skipper Thilina Kandamby, who was dropped on one and two.
For much of their innings, Uva looked set to rack up a higher score as Yorkshire produced a somewhat ill-disciplined display in the field.
Seven wides were conceded in the opening 10 overs and a host of short deliveries were punished, with Munaweera exhibiting an eagerness to open up the off side during an attractive innings of 22.
When Kandamby survived return chances to Steven Patterson and Rashid, there was further frustration for the county side, but they responded well and kept a lid on the scoring rate in the closing overs.
Captain Andrew Gale and England batsman Joe Root fell for 13 and 11 in reply, but Jaques kicked on impressively before being caught and bowled off Munaweera, who then bowled Ballance via inside-edge.
It was left to Miller and Rashid to lead the way thereafter, although young wicketkeeper Dan Hodgson also played a valuable hand in contributing 18 after the South African had been forced to leave the field.