Battling Yorkshire downed by Middlesex
Middlesex 197 for 4 beat Yorkshire 196 for 7 by six wickets
A fourth-wicket stand of 111 between Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance followed by some remarkable hitting from Jonny Bairstow brought about a dramatic change in fortunes for Yorkshire in their CB40 Group A match at Headingley, but they still went down by six wickets to new leaders Middlesex.
After barely playing a shot in anger in struggling to 53 for 3 off 16 overs, Yorkshire then blasted their way to 196 for 7 off the next 15 in a game reduced to 31 overs a side because of rain. Middlesex were equal to the task, however, and they eased their way to their target with an over to spare, Paul Stirling and Chris Rogers racking up half-centuries.
Put in to bat, Yorkshire lost a wicket in the first over when Joe Sayers edged Cory Collymore to second slip where Neil Dexter deflected the ball to first slip and it was caught at the second attempt by Dawid Malan.
Captain Andrew Gale glanced Collymore for four and Lyth drove Steven Finn over long-off for another boundary but runs remained hard to come by and Yorkshire were in big trouble when Gale top-edged a pull for Steven Crook to hold a return catch and Anthony McGrath was run out by Tim Murtagh's direct hit.
Even when Ballance joined Lyth there was no immediate improvement and there were ironic cheers from the small crowd as Ballance struck Murtagh for four to end a spell of 11 overs without a boundary. Suddenly, Ballance sprang to life by pulling Finn for six in an over which cost 17 and brought the batsman his first one-day half-century for Yorkshire.
Crook took up even greater punishment in the next over which conceded 22 with both batsmen clearing the rope. The 100 stand arrived off 83 balls and Lyth then brought up his own 50 before Ballance was caught on the square leg boundary by Scott Newman off Dexter for 71 from 53 deliveries with seven fours and two sixes.
Lyth was also held in the deep in the next over from Collymore, his 52 coming off 73 balls with three fours and a six, but the most dramatic hitting came in a furious late assault from Bairstow. He blasted Dexter over long on for six and in the final over from Collymore he smashed three consecutive sixes, all to different parts of the ground.
In attempting a fourth he was sensationally caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Crooks who slipped at the last second and grabbed the ball while on the seat of his pants. There were 27 runs in the over, plus the wicket, and Bairstow's 33 was scored off 15 balls with four sixes.
Yorkshire were denied an early success when McGrath put down Malan at second slip and the signs looked ominous as Newman lifted Richard Pyrah over mid-wicket for six.
The openers had put on 59 inside 12 overs before they were parted by Ben Sanderson who was lofted to Ryan Sidebottom at wide mid-on by Newman for 33 and it became 64 for 2 when Malan's reverse sweep hit the back of the bat and was neatly held behind the stumps by Bairstow.
Unfortunately for Yorkshire, they could not capitalise on these dismissals and Stirling and Rogers gradually put Middlesex in command with some fluent batting that brought each of them their half-centuries in a three figure stand. Shortly before going to his 50, Rogers survived a legside stumping chance against Pyrah but by this time Yorkshire were already looking a beaten side.
The stand closed on 116 in 13 overs, Stirling being bowled by Sidebottom for an excellent 57 from 37 balls with five fours and a six, and Rogers soon followed for 51, slicing Ajmal Shahzad to Sidebottom after receiving 44 balls and hitting six boundaries. Dexter and Jamie Dalrymple came together at 182 for4 in the 27th over and saw Middlesex over the line without any further alarms.