Starc holds off Lancashire
Yorkshire 180 for 6 (Miller 54, Ballance 42) beat Lancashire 161 for 5 (Croft 56; Starc 2-21) by 19 runs
Yorkshire took a giant step towards qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Friends Life t20 by beating Lancashire by 19 runs in front of a 10,350 crowd at Headingley.
The victory was their fifth in seven matches in the North Group and it left them four points ahead of their Roses rivals - who have a game in hand. The two sides meet again at Old Trafford next Friday.
Yorkshire, put in to bat, were 60 for 3 after 10 overs - losing all three batsmen to boundary catches. However, they were then propelled to their final total of 180 for 6 by a hurricane stand of 91 in 7.1 overs between David Miller and Gary Ballance. It was a Yorkshire record in T20 cricket for the fifth wicket and it rapidly turned a modest score into a highly competitive one, Lancashire keeping abreast of the rate for a while before losing momentum to finish on 161 for 5.
The Miller-Balance run feast ended in the final over when Ballance mishit Tom Newby and Stephen Parry held on to a steepler to send the batsman back for 42 from 23 balls with six fours and a six. Then man-of-the-match Miller was run out for a fiercely struck 54 from just 30 balls with four fours and three sixes.
It was a game of mixed fortunes for Lancashire pace bowler Yasir Arafat, who became the first bowler in English domestic T20 cricket to take 100 wickets when he had opener Adam Lyth caught by Tom Smith diving forward at mid-on.
But Arafat later came in for some severe punishment and his final figures of 1 for 55 from four overs were the most expensive conceded by a Lancashire bowler in the history of the competition.
The visitors made a poor start to their chase as Stephen Moore was comprehensively bowled by Mitchell Starc in the Australian's first over. Smith showed plenty of appetite for the fight by planting consecutive balls from off-spinner Joe Root over long-on for six in an over which cost 19.
Smith also spooned Richard Pyrah high over square leg for another maximum but having made 33 from 18 balls with two fours and three sixes he was athletically caught at the second attempt by acting captain Azeem Rafiq at backward point. Steven Croft and Karl Brown took up the challenge in determined fashion, each striking Adil Rashid for six in the same over, but the runs began to dry up when the economical Rafiq brought himself into the attack.
Lancashire were still in with a shout with 58 wanted from five overs but their hopes were dashed as Root held on to a chance from Brown on the boundary edge, throwing the ball into the air before stepping over the rope and then catching it again when he re-entered the field of play. Brown had thumped 46 from 35 deliveries with four fours and a six.
Horton was bowled by Moin Ashraf in the penultimate over and Croft's courageous 56 from 68 balls with four fours and a six was ended by Starc, who had him caught at mid-off by Ballance.