Brilliant Bairstow sends Yorkshire to final
Jonny Bairstow continued his outstanding form by guiding Yorkshire to the final of the Friends Life t20.
The White Rose initially struggled in their last-four clash against Sussex at the SWALEC Stadium, slipping to 36 for three having won the toss.
But after David Miller started the fightback with a belligerent 47, Bairstow clicked into top gear to strike an unbeaten 68 and steer Yorkshire to 172 for six.
The runs continued a fine patch for the youngster, who announced himself as a Test cricketer last week with an excellent performance against South Africa at Lord’s.
Buoyed by Bairstow’s fine effort, Yorkshire then impressed in the field as Sussex were restricted to 136 for eight despite Chris Nash’s 80 not out.
“I was pleased to make a contribution like that in the semi-final after all the hard work these boys have put in throughout the competition,” said Bairstow.
“They deserve to be in the final; they’ve played some outstanding cricket and to be there with them is very special.”
Bairstow unsurprisingly received praise from both captains.
Andrew Gale described the 23-year-old as being in “the form of his life”, while opposite number Michael Yardy said: “He played the match-winning innings. He was controlled at the start, didn’t panic, and then accelerated. To get to 170, a lot of it was down to him.”
Yardy added: “We needed to have a big partnership up top and unfortunately we couldn’t do that. For one guy to get 80 not out, another (Murray Goodwin) 15 and no-one else get double figures - you’re not winning too many games like that.”
Profiting from taking pace off the ball, the Sharks kept things tight early on as Scott Styris claimed a wicket in each of his first three overs.
Gale hit tamely to mid-on, Phil Jaques was bowled attempting a paddle sweep and Joe Root pinned in front as he tried a reverse.
David Miller initially got the White Rose back on track, hitting with impressive power in a 35-ball 47.
His departure had little impact on England international Bairstow, who, having initially played himself in, delivered a series of controlled assaults.
Showing immense timing, he struck three sixes and two fours as Yorkshire eventually posted a commanding total.
It was a score Sussex showed few signs of overhauling despite Nash’s mix of drives and ramp shots.
The opener could only watch on as Luke Wright was bowled by Ryan Sidebottom and Matt Prior caught at mid-on off international team-mate Tim Bresnan.
Those wickets hurt and, despite Nash continuing to impress with his inventive style, Yorkshire claimed further scalps at regular intervals.
Richard Pyrah and Bresnan took two apiece, while Azeem Rafiq and Sidebottom picked up one each.
Yorkshire, at finals day for the first time, will face the winner of Somerset’s clash with Hampshire later today.
1:58pm - END OF INNINGS – Sussex 136/8; Nash 80 not out –YORKSHIRE WIN BY 36 RUNS! – Despite the best efforts of Nash, who has carried his bat in a terrific innings, Sussex have fallen well short. Yorkshire are through to the final and will be full of confidence after this performance.
1:52pm – WICKET! Beer run out 3; Sussex 123/8 (18.2 overs) - Proof that this is not Sussex’s day. Nash connects cleanly with a straight drive but Sidebottom flicks the ball on to the stumps at the non-striker’s end to account for Beer.
1:51pm - Ashraf finally errs in length and is scooped for six by Nash, who has more than half of his side’s total. A glorious cover-driven four follows and Sidebottom is smacked down the ground, but it is too little, too late...surely?
1:43pm – WICKET! Yardy run out 2; Sussex 100/7 (16.3 overs) - A dreadful mix-up sees Michael Yardy depart. This has turned into a very one-sided affair.
1:40pm - Ashraf delivers a wonderful exhibition of yorkers; they could come in useful later today, with the White Rose now almost certain of a place in the final. Sussex need 75 from four overs.
1:34pm – WICKET! Machan c Bairstow b Bresnan 7; Sussex 93/6 (14.3 overs) - Jonny Bairstow misses a chance to stump Matt Machan off Rafiq’s next delivery, but it is unlikely to matter. Sussex’s number seven is soon caught behind off the returning Bresnan.
1:27pm – WICKET! Styris c Ballance b Rafiq 8; Sussex 81/5 (13.1 overs) - That could well be that – Ballance takes another catch at long-on to end Styris’ innings.
1:25pm – FIFTY! Nash (40b 5x4 1x6) - Nash is battling away valiantly and sweeps Rafiq behind square for his fifth four before moving to 50. Sussex need 92 from the final seven overs, however.
1:16pm – WICKET! Gatting b Pyrah 3; Sussex 62/4 (10.3 overs) - We have sunshine once again, but is all looking rather gloomy for the Sharks as Joe Gatting, making room to slog, loses his middle stump to Pyrah. Can Scott Styris pull off a miracle?
1:11pm – WICKET! Goodwin c Ballance b Pyrah 15; Sussex 55/3 (9 overs) - Sussex are in big trouble now! Goodwin splits two leg-side boundary riders to score his first four, but then holes out to long-on next ball as the rain returns.
1:07pm - For the first time today we have rain, but it is only a brief, passing shower and play continues. Moin Ashraf replaces Bresnan and keeps things tight. With Azeem Rafiq also starting well the required run-rate has risen above 10 an over. Murray Goodwin is struggling to get it off the square just now.
1pm - Richard Pyrah enters the attack and will seek to repeat the success of another medium-pacer in Scott Styris. Nash scoops again, but only just clears Moin Ashraf at short fine-leg on this occasion. The opener enjoys further good fortune when a loose drive almost carries to mid-off. Sussex end the powerplay on 39 for two; Yorkshire were 40 for three.
12:55pm - Back-to-back fours for Nash; he profits from another scoop off Sidebottom before driving through the off side. Bresnan is then pulled behind square but responds by rapping Nash on the pad. Unfortunately for Yorkshire, that was high.
12:46pm – WICKET! Prior c Ballance b Bresnan 2; Sussex 15/2 (2.4 overs) - An all-England battle begins as Matt Prior takes guard against Tim Bresnan. The Yorkshire bowler quickly takes the honours as his international team-mate miscues a pull to mid-on.
12:43pm – WICKET! Wright b Sidebottom 3; Sussex 12/1 (2 overs) - Just three from Root’s first set of six, which featured an enthusiastic stumping appeal against Chris Nash. Not sure why Yorkshire were so excited - no problems there for the batsman. Nash then collects six with a ramp shot over short fine-leg off Ryan Sidebottom, but there is a wicket later in the over as Luke Wright plays on.
12:35pm - Good heavens, we’re back on already! Yorkshire have followed Sussex by opening up with a slow bowler, off-spinner Joe Root.
12:25pm – END OF INNINGS – Yorks 172/6; Bairstow 68 not out - Bairstow pulls Liddle’s final ball over fine-leg for four and Gale’s men claim 14 off the 20th over courtesy of some superb running. That was a fine effort from Yorkshire, underpinned by a wonderful knock by their wicketkeeper-batsman.
12:18pm – WICKET! Bresnan c Goodwin b Liddle 6; Yorks 153/6 (18.4 overs) - After claiming a fortuitious four, Tim Bresnan is caught at backward point. Yorkshire could do with getting Bairstow on strike.
12:14pm – WICKET! Ballance c Yardy b Liddle 7; Yorks 147/5 (18.1 overs) - Ballance departs in tame fashion, failing to clear mid-off after Liddle had sent down a full toss.
12:11pm – FIFTY! Bairstow (39b 1x4 3x6) - Bairstow passes 50 in some style with a huge six over long-on off Nash. He has paced this innings superbly and Yorkshire will now be targeting 170.
12:09pm – Luke Wright starts well before losing his way. A chest-high full toss is called as a no-ball and Bairstow pulls the next delivery, which also does not pitch, over cow corner for four.
12:02pm – WICKET! Miller c Gatting b Nash 47; Yorks 118/4 (15.4 overs) - Bairstow helps a full bunger from Amjad over long-leg for another maximum. The England batsman is lucky to survive in the next over when a clip to deep midwicket off Chris Nash falls agonisingly short of Matt Machan. Miller is not so fortunate and hands Sussex a valuable breakthrough when holing out to long-off.
11:56am - Amjad Khan concedes five in his opening over, which sees the fifty partnership brought up from 44 balls. Miller is starting to tick and thumps Beer back over his head for four and six. The White Rose are into three figures now and moving through the gears nicely.
11:48am - Yorkshire, 61 for three at halfway, require acceleration and Miller obliges with a straight six off Liddle that results in the ball flying out of the ground! The South African picks up four more when pulling a full toss from Beer just beyond Liddle at deep midwicket.
11:39am - Miller plays the most authoritative shot of the morning, pulling Liddle between two fielders for his second four. Time for a bit of leg-spin from Will Beer, who almost bowls Bairstow in an over yielding five.
11:30am - Yardy completes figures of 0-23 with a tight fourth over. Styris, who finishes with 3-22, then sees a huge appeal for a catch rejected when the ball brushes Miller’s pad en route to Matt Prior. Left-arm seamer Chris Liddle enters the attack.
11:23am - WICKET! Root lbw Styris 11; Yorks 36/3 (5.4 overs) - Root sweeps Yardy for two fours and Jonny Bairstow then clears deep midwicket off Styris to register the first maximum of the match. The Kiwi soon enjoys further success, however, as Root, attempting another reverse-sweep, is trapped lbw by a full toss. Yorkshire end the six-over powerplay on 40 for three following a streaky four from David Miller.
11:13am – WICKET! Jaques b Styris 2; Yorks 19/2 (3.4 overs) - New batsman Joe Root twice attempts to reverse-sweep Yardy, but fails to connect. This has been a good start by Sussex, who are benefiting from taking pace off the ball, and it gets better when Phil Jaques attempts an audacious scoop over the wicketkeeper and is bowled by Styris. A wicket-maiden is subsequently completed and the veteran all-rounder has 2-6 from two.
11:06am – WICKET! Gale c Nash b Styris 11; Yorks 13/1 (1.4 overs) - Gale gives himself room and cuts Scott Styris behind point for four, only to fall to the next delivery when spooning one to mid-on.
11:03am - Sussex open up with spin as Michael Yardy bowls the first over. The captain concedes seven runs, four coming from a confident straight drive by opposite number Andrew Gale.
10:58am - The players are out on the field and the 10th Friends Life t20 finals day is about to begin!
10:50am - Almost ready for the off then. There may be some help for the seamers on this pitch, but Ian Bell showed it was possible to score quickly yesterday and Yorkshire’s top order will be hoping to follow the England batsman’s example.
10:35am - YORKSHIRE WIN THE TOSS AND BAT - Andrew Gale elects to make first use of the same pitch that was briefly used 24 hours earlier in the abandoned one-day international. The teams are as follows.
Yorkshire: Andrew Gale (captain), Phil Jaques, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, David Miller, Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan, Richard Pyrah, Azeem Rafiq, Ryan Sidebottom, Moin Ashraf.
Sussex: Chris Nash, Luke Wright, Matt Prior, Murray Goodwin, Scott Styris, Joe Gatting, Michael Yardy, Matt Machan, Will Beer, Amjad Khan, Chris Liddle.
10:26am - I am pleased to report that the latest weather forecast is much more promising – hopes are high that the reserve day will not be needed!
10:20am - We can expect to see sixes galore today, with a host of powerful batsmen on show. In this opening clash, Sussex will be looking to Matt Prior, Luke Wright and Scott Styris to clear the ropes, while Yorkshire can call upon the likes of David Miller, Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance. Just 10 minutes until the toss.
10:10am - I have looked at multiple forecasts for today and still do not know whether we will get lucky with the weather. At the moment, the outfield is bathed in sunshine, but there are plenty of clouds around the Welsh capital.
10am - A warm welcome from the SWALEC Stadium where we are gearing up for the first match on Friends Life t20 finals day. Providing the showers that blighted yesterday’s NatWest Series ODI stay away, Sussex and Yorkshire will take to the field at 11am.