Yorkshire hold on despite Morkel assault
Yorkshire 142 for 9 (Hodgson, Morkel 4-25) beat Derbyshire 136 for 5 (Morkel 51*, Rafiq 3-22) by six runs
Yorkshire survived a brilliant all-round display by Albie Morkel to claim a six-run Friends Life T20 win over Derbyshire at Chesterfield. Morkel followed his best-ever T20 bowling figures of 4 for 25 with an astonishing last over assault on Liam Plunkett that almost pulled off an improbable victory for the hosts.
Derbyshire needed 32 to overhaul Yorkshire's 142 for 9 but although Morkel smashed Plunkett for three fours and two sixes, he failed to make contact with the last ball and was left unbeaten on 51 from 31 balls.
Yorkshire had looked on course for a more challenging total after Phil Jaques and Dan Hodgson established a solid platform with a second-wicket stand of 49 in 6 overs. Hodgson pulled Tim Groenewald for six and Jaques twice reverse-swept boundaries as Yorkshire reached 70 for 1 in the ninth over but intelligent bowling backed up by sharp fielding allowed Derbyshire to rein the visitors in on a slow pitch.
Jaques was bowled sweeping at Dan Redfern for 22 in the 10th over and Morkel struck twice in the 12th when Hodgson drove him to deep mid-on and Andy Hodd was bowled for a duck trying to clip a full length ball through midwicket.
Former Derbyshire batsman Gary Ballance threatened to take the momentum away from the home side with 28 from 22 balls including a straight driven six off Wes Durston but after he skied Morkel to deep midwicket in the 16th over, the rest of the innings fell away. Mark Turner varied his pace cleverly to run through the lower order and when Ryan Sidebottom pulled the last ball of the innings to midwicket, Yorkshire had lost eight wickets for 72 in 11 overs.
Derbyshire suffered a setback at the start of their reply when Durston slipped going for a single and had to retire hurt on 8 but Chesney Hughes and skipper Wayne Madsen took the score to 49 before two wickets in the eighth over put Yorkshire back in it. First Madsen was run out for 19 in a mix-up with Hughes, who was out next ball for 21 when he drove Azeem Rafiq to mid off where Richard Pyrah held an excellent diving catch.
The spinners were hard to get away and Rafiq struck again when Redfern cut tamely to point before Billy Godleman was caught in the same position trying to reverse sweep to leave Derbyshire struggling on 67 for 4.
Morkel responded by driving Rafiq over long-on for six and cutting Pyrah for four but despite his last over heroics, Plunkett had the final word when he delivered a dot ball to give Yorkshire only their second win in the North Division and dent Derbyshire's hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.