Yorkshire v Middlesex, YB40 Group C, Headlingey June 20, 2013

Yorks find silver lining through rain

Yorkshire 81 for 0 (Lyth 38*, Gale 34*) beat Middlesex 217 for 8 (Berg 43, Pyrah 3-33) by 17 runs D/L

Rain brought a damp end to Thursday's Yorkshire Bank 40 game between Yorkshire and Middlesex at Headingley, but the silver lining for the home side was that they pulled off their first win of the season against county opposition.

After Middlesex had been restricted to 217 for 8 from their 40 overs in the Group C fixture, Yorkshire reached 54 without loss in 13 overs in reply before a 26-minute break for rain reduced their Duckworth-Lewis target to 197 off 35 overs.

And when the rain returned, openers Andrew Gale and Adam Lyth had taken the score to 81 in 17.2 overs, Yorkshire winning by the comfortable margin of 17 runs under the D/L system.

It was Yorkshire's best start to an innings in the competition this season, skipper Gale ending unbeaten on 34 from 56 balls with two fours and Lyth 38 off 50 deliveries with three fours and a six. Before this game Yorkshire's only success in seven outings had been against Unicorns, their six other matches all being lost.

Middlesex's modest total meant Gale and Lyth were under little pressure when they began the reply and their main concern in the increasing gloom was to make sure that they were always comfortably ahead of the required rate. Gale led the way for a while but Lyth moved ahead by hooking Toby Roland-Jones for four and cracking his next ball for a flat six over midwicket.

After the first stoppage for rain, the batsmen had sufficient time to make it Yorkshire's best opening stand of the season, overtaking the 61 by Gale and Phil Jaques against Leicestershire at Scarborough, Jaques not being selected because of an abdominal strain.

Having been put in to bat, most of the action came inside the first nine overs of the Middlesex innings as Paul Stirling lashed a rapid 32 from 20 balls with five fours and a six and paceman Iain Wardlaw knocked over three of the first four batsmen to claim career-best figures of 3 for 39.

Stirling set the tone by cover-driving Wardlaw's first ball for four and he took seven off the over before tearing into 15-year-old Matt Fisher, striking him for three fours and a six in his initial over to score the visitors' first 25 runs from a dozen deliveries. But Wardlaw replied with a perfect yorker to knock over Stirling's stumps for 32 from 20 balls and end an opening partnership of 42 in five overs with Dawid Malan.

Joe Denly then chopped Wardlaw into his stumps which meant that the seamer had bowled his last five victims in the competition and in the following over Sam Robson suffered a similar fate against Ryan Gibson, whose next two balls were leg-glanced and cover-driven for boundaries by new batsman, Adam Rossington.

It became 65 for 4 as Malan cut loosely at Wardlaw and was caught behind by Andy Hodd, leaving the Middlesex middle order to rebuild the innings - a job chiefly done by Rossington (42) and Gareth Berg (43) before both became victims of Yorkshire's leading YB40 League bowler Richard Pyrah, who ended up with figures of 3 for 33.

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  • Mark on June 21, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    What would be wrong with an FA Cup-type knockout. All Minor counties, all UCCEs, all County Board XIs, plus Scotland, Ireland, Denmark and The Netherlands. Players to be cup-tied for later rounds.

    Division 2 counties would enter at the 3rd Round stage, with no seeding. Division 1 counties enter in Round 4 again, without seeding so that two Division 1 counties could meet, while another tie is between, say, Dorset and Durham UCCE. The initial rounds should be played at weekends to facilitate things for the amateurs. Pure knock-out.

    A format like this would help players to learn to play in pressure situations where there is no second opportunity in the next match; the current format encourages a "who cares if we lose provided that we win the next match" mentality, which is not the one that wins World Cups.

  • Mark on June 21, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    Unlike Groups A and B, which already look to be close to decided, Group C is proving to be a very tight one. This defeat *probably* eliminates Middlesex from the fight (although were they to win their last 5 games they would still have a real chance again), but Somerset, Gloucestershire and Glamorgan look to be in a tight battle to win the group.

    However, I have to admit that the thought that each team plays no less than 12 group games so that just one of the 7 teams progresses would not be my ideal format. Too many of the matches from here on become irrelevant and the group stages don't finish until late August! It's understandable that Yorkshire have decided to prioritise and give some youngsters a chance to play as an investment for the future.

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