Evans upstages Patel hat-trick
Warwickshire 148 for 5 (Evans 69*) beat Yorkshire 147 for 6 (Bresnan 45, Patel 4-19) by five wickets
New Zealand offspinner Jeetan Patel rocked Yorkshire with a brilliant hat-trick as Warwickshire stalled their advance to the quarter-finals of the NatWest Blast by winning with two balls to spare.
Laurie Evans kept the Bears' chance of finishing in the top four places in the North Division alive with a superb unbeaten 69 off 43 balls that included one enormous six, driven on to the roof of the Football Stand from the off-spin of Azeem Rafiq with such power that it bounced up and over the apex.
Patel dismissed Kane Williamson, Andrew Gale and Adam Lyth with consecutive deliveries in his second over, becoming the fourth Warwickshire's bowler to achieve a T20 hat-trick.
James Anyon, Imran Tahir and Keith Barker did it, Barker against Yorkshire at Edgbaston in 2010. There have been 16 hat-tricks in English domestic T20 and five of them involve one or other of these sides, Yorkshire also finding themselves on the wrong end of one against Leicestershire at Grace Road in 2007, when Jeremy Snape did the honours.
What was all the more impressive about Patel's feat was that they were all what you might call authentic dismissals, with no miscued slogs. Williamson was leg before and both Gale and Lyth were bowled off stump, beaten playing back to balls that spun. Combined with the skilful removal of Alex Lees, lured down the pitch and stumped in his first over, they gave Patel career-best T20 figures of 4 for 19.
The triple calamity left Yorkshire reeling at 72 for 5 in the ninth over after winning the toss but they recovered to post a competitive score after Tim Bresnan and Adil Rashid combined to add 68 runs from 44 balls in an undefeated seventh-wicket partnership.
Bresnan hit 45 from 36 balls, of which nine runs came after he was dropped by John Webb at deep-backward point in the last over of the innings, bowled by the former Yorkshire seamer Oliver Hannon-Dalby, which was his only chance. Adil Rashid scored 29 from 20 deliveries.
It was good stuff from a Yorkshire perspective but hardly edge-of-your-seat viewing. There were 10 fours in the Bresnan-Rashid partnership but only five in 13 and a half overs of the Yorkshire innings before they got going, and not one six.
It was not the kind of cricket to excite the casual fan hoping to be spectacularly entertained and that has been the verdict after too many matches, and not only this season. The razzmatazz marketing that many counties deliver superbly is in danger of appearing to be for a product that does not exist.
Perhaps the record for Yorkshire of Aaron Finch says rather a lot. The Australian big-hitter, whose arrival prompted Yorkshire's publicity machine to suggest nearby residents should board up their windows and spectators should equip themselves with hard hats, enjoyed one big night when he hit 88 against Lancashire at Old Trafford but has otherwise shown scarcely a glimpse of the firepower that brought him his world record 156 against England last year.
His other eight innings have yielded 79 runs in total and his latest effort began with two respectful leaves against Rikki Clarke, who then took the pace off a ball to have him caught at mid-off.
At least on this occasion there was Evans to come up with some old-fashioned T20 gusto in what turned out to be the match-winning performance, with a moment or two of modern innovation too in the shape of a scoop for six off Ryan Sidebottom from the last ball of the 19th over after a run of five fours in eight balls against Rich Pyrah and the former England left-armer that finally swung a tight contest in Warwickshire's favour.
Patel, typically modest, played down his own contribution afterwards. "It was important to get Kane because he can do such damage and the balls that bowled Gale and Lyth were decent balls, hitting off stump, so some would say it was good bowling but sometimes you get a bit of luck," he said.
"It was my first hat-trick but I'm not sure it affected the game that much beyond meaning they got 140 instead of 150. What got us across the line really was those partnerships with Rikki Clarke and Ateeq Javid at the end and a fantastic innings from Laurie, who is a guy with a lot of skills who can hit the ball to different parts of the park, and that makes it very hard for the opposition to defend."