Friday, 3 June 2011
Bears claw back to take t20 win
The Warwickshire Bears ran out winners at Headingley on Friday night as Yorkshire’s opening match started with a bang, but ended with a whimper.
(PHOTO: Andrew Gale with 54 was top-class at the top of the Yorkshire order, but when he was run out for 54 the Tykes lost their way)
It was always going to be a tough task after 16 days on the road playing 4-day cricket and no time to prepare, whereas the Bears had last week off and had won a game against Durham the previous evening, but Andrew Gale had ordered his team to get out of the blocks quickly and he led from the front in a bid to do just that.
Yorkshire turned to t20 action at Headingley looking for the perfect pick-me-up after a disappointing start to the 2011 season. Could the shortest form of cricket give Gale’s side fresh hope and clear inhibitions? For the first seven overs the contest the Tykes were on the money with Gale himself setting the blueprint on how to take control of the opening powerplay overs.
The Bears had won the toss and a decent crowd of 4,200 in glorious sunshine saw Yorkshire make 161-8 in their twenty overs with Gale top-scoring with 54. That total could have been so much more. At 82-1 after five balls of the 7th over the Tykes were dominant, but Gale turned for an improbable second after a missfield and slipped while trying to make his ground. It took a direct hit to see his exit, but Gale’s departure was the moment Yorkshire began to lose their grip.
Gale had been sublime. A four and a six from Andrew Miller’s first over and powerful hitting saw the Yorkshire skipper reach fifty in just 21 balls. The Bears could not set a field to him as he peppered the fence and he prospered. He will have been aggrieved to lose his wicket so tamely after being so wild with the willow.
Jonny Bairstow could only watch from the non-striker’s end until he hit a four and a six before running a lifting delivery from Miller to short third-man.
Yorkshire added 41 runs in the seven overs after Gale’s departure before Darren Maddy had Adam Lyth (33) caught at deep cover and bowled Anthony McGrath (28). Maddy had Brophy caught at deep square-leg off a high full toss that most in the ground thought should have been called a no-ball. Joe Root was well caught by Keith Barker at mid-off to give Neil Carter the first of two scalps and Yorkshire had lost all momentum at 136-6 in the 17th over.
Rikki Clarke then ran twenty yards and dived to brilliantly catch Adil Rashid at long-off in the penultimate over and Clarke struck again when Ryan Sidebottom hit hard and straight over long-on only to see the fielder leap and casually catch one-handed a foot inside the rope. Only 31 runs had been added in the final quarter of Yorkshire’s innings and what could have been a total nearing 200 ended at 161-8. Those lost 30 or 40 runs would prove costly.
The Bears had clawed their way back into the game, but lost Varun Chopra lbw from the fourth ball of Rashid’s opening over, but Neil Carter and Will Porterfield added 71 runs for the 2nd wicket in 37 balls and the visitors never looked back.
They tell you to avoid a wonded Bear and when Neil Carter was hit by a Richard Pyrah slower ball bouncer he lashed out with a four and a six off subsequent deliveries. At 75-1 Carter edged Wainwright behind, but Porterfield was Warwickshire’s Andrew Gale, reaching fifty in 21-balls.
The only way Yorkshire were going to win the game was to attack and take wickets and for two overs it looked like they might just pull off a great comeback. Rashid had Porterfield lbw for 64 and then Maddy edged behind and was given out much to his displeasure. Joe Root had Jim Troughton lbw and the Bears had lost 3 wickets for 6 runs.
But the experience of Tim Ambrose (26no) and Rikki Clarke (21no) saw Warwickshire home with 13 balls to spare as they added an unbroken 42 for the 6th wicket.
JAMES BUTTLER at HEADINGLEY
YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE SQUAD
Andrew GALE (c), Adam LYTH, Joe ROOT, Anthony McGRATH, Jonny BAIRSTOW, Gerard BROPHY, Gary BALLANCE, Adil RASHID, Ajmal SHAHZAD, Richard PYRAH, David WAINWRIGHT, Azeem RAFIQ, Ryan SIDEBOTTOM and Steve PATTERSON.
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The Yorkshire captain, Andrew Gale, has emphasised the importance of getting off to a winning start in the competition and if Yorkshire are to make it to their first ever Finals Day they will need to be on their game from ball one.
Starting with a bang is not going to be easy...
After 15 nights on the road playing 4-day Championship cricket the Tykes have had no time to get their heads around the fastest form of the game. The tactics will have been discussed in the dressing room, but the reverse sweeps, Dilshan scoops and attacking batting will need to come largely from memory.
For the bowlers too there will be no time to ease into a spell – from ball one the Warwickshire batsmen will be wanting to hit them out of the ground.
The Warwickshire Bears are also not to be taken lightly.
The Bears won the pre-season t20 tournament in Barbados and are the defending CB40 champions so their one-day credentials are very good. With Jim Troughton as their new captain this year they are a tight knit unit and will fancy their own chances of taking the t20 crown in 2011. In Darren Maddy and Rikki Clarke they have seasoned pros who know their roles in the side and in Chopra and Barker they have two of the most exciting young prospects on the county circuit. And remember Chris Woakes - a big all-round talent and a potentially powerful force with bat and ball.
Yorkshire though have their own stars.
In Andrew Gale they have an opening batsman who can take a game by the scruff of the neck with lusty blows. Richard Pyrah (if fit) is as good a one-day t20 all-rounder as there is in county cricket and he has been in top form in 2011. Anthony McGrath is Yorkshire’s most experienced player and can be truly destructive in the middle order.
Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance and Joe Root have all taken headlines with the bat this summer and Steve Patterson, Ajmal Shahzad and Ryan Sidebottom can provide control and wickets with the ball.
Adil Rashid was a hugely important t20 player for the Tykes last summer and Yorkshire will need him to perform and bowl those miserly middle overs. And don’t forget David Wainwright who has enjoyed t20 in recent years. Rashid won the Big Bash with the South Australian Redbacks during the winter. The Redbacks played three spinners with great success. Does that mean a bowl for Joe Root or could Azeem Rafiq play in this competition as he did last summer?
Will the Tykes adopt the same tactic, or will they invent some game-plans of their own in a bid for success? Shahzad could be a devastating pinch hitter. It would be great to see us take the matches to the opposition and attack throughout.
We have 16 group games which lead to Quarter-Finals and then a Finals Day at Edgbaston on 27 August. The 8 home and 8 away matches start here.
In t20 cricket there is no time to switch off. A couple of poor overs can cost a side the game. It’s going to be fast and furious and there will undoubtedly be some ups and downs along the way, but one thing is for sure – it’s going to be exciting!